Congressional Briefing: Can Oil Production Meet Rising Demand?

On Thursday, October 7, the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) conducted a congressional briefing on challenges of the oil industry to keep pace with rising global demand, and the potential implications for oil prices, national security and the world economy.

The panelists included a combination of some people in Washington DC for the ASPO-USA meeting (Robert Hirsch, Tad Patzek, and Arthur Berman) and some people currently or recently involved with government offices (including Franklin Rusco, Director of Energy at the GAO, and Guy Caruso, Former Administrator of the EIA). I found it especially interesting that the latter two, especially Guy Caruso, were concerned about oil supply. As head of the EIA from 2002 to 2008, Guy Caruso did not seem to voice these concerns.

This video can be found at Can Oil Production Meet Rising Demand? An mp3 recording and copies of presentations can be found at the EESI site. Below the fold I show some of the slides and mention a few of the comments made by the presenters.

The overall theme of the presentations seemed to be that there are many types of risks that supply will be inadequate to meet demand--rising demand from emerging economies, inadequate investment, and oil that cannot be pulled out of the ground fast enough, even though the appearance is that there is plenty of oil available. The result is likely to be high prices leading to recession. Alternatives are not scaling up quickly enough to be likely to be very helpful for a very long time - 25 years according to Art Berman.

Below, I summarize the presentations. Note that I have not shown all of the slides. You will need to look at the individual presentations (linked for the individual presenters) to get all of the slides.

Franklin Rusco's Presentation

The first person to give a presentation was Franklin Rusco, Director of Energy, Government Accountability Office. (The GAO put out a report in 2007 called CRUDE OIL: Uncertainty about Future Oil Supply Makes It Important to Develop a Strategy for Addressing a Peak and Decline in Oil Production.)

Rusco quotes the high reserve to production ratio for oil, then asks, "Why be concerned?" Whether or not oil peaks, he has concerns about the possibility of rising demand possibly leading to a spike in prices, and therefore leading to recessionary impacts. There is also an issue with reserves being in unstable areas, so one cannot count on supply. One can see many of his points from these slides.

Tad Patzek's Presentation

Tad Patzek, who is a professor at the University of Texas, gave his presentation next. He summarized his main point as, "It is all about the rate, stupid."

This is a good visual depiction of the problem!

The above graph shows the share of electricity generation from different sources. (Click on any of the images for a larger view.) The numbers on the right hand side show the days out of 365 that the fuels would provide electricity. From the bottom up, the fuels are coal, natural gas, nuclear, hydroelecric, and "rest". The "rest" is 23 days out of 365. This amount is about the same at the beginning and the end of the period shown.

The above graph shows a breakout of the "rest". Petroleum consumption is decreasing (now mostly in Hawaii), and wind has recently increased. In 2008, it would account for 5 days out of 365 days of electricity generation.

The above graph shows different liquid fuels, divided into the number of days out of 365 they would provide fuel for. Ethanol is the little sliver in red, which would amount to eight days out of 365.

Tad Patzek's point relating to the above graph was that there is not a lot of additional oil production through Enhanced Oil Recovery now (or at least when the graph was made in 2007). So we shouldn't hold out huge expectations for the future.

Guy Caruso's Presentation

Guy Caruso is Senior Advisor, Center for Strategic and International Studies and Former Administrator, U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). At some point along the line, he also worked for the International Energy Agency (IEA). As I indicated above, I found his testimony the most surprising, since while at the EIA from 2002-2008, he didn't seem to mention any problems. Caruso started out his talk by saying this is a topic "near and dear to my heart".

In his presentation, Caruso talked about the National Petroleum Council's (NPC) 2007 report, Facing Hard Truths About Energy. He says that in that report, and in the view of the EIA, the big concerns were above ground factors--access to reserves, adequate investment, and geopolitics. (When you include adequate investment as one of the above-ground factors, it seems to me that you are getting back to the Limits to Growth view of the limit on oil production--we reach the point where we can't invest enough to keep pulling oil out fast enough, because the net energy of what is being extracted is too low.)

In his talk, Guy Caruso says that current liquid fuels production is 85 million barrels a day. "Maybe we will get to 100 million barrels a day; maybe we won't. That is the debate we are talking about today." I found this comment pretty amazing, for someone recently with the EIA.

Guy Caruso also had some interesting things to say about the IEA (not EIA). He said that the IEA has been very much influenced by the work of Robert Hirsch and Matt Simmons. He also said that in the new IEA forecasts (expected out in about three weeks), the forecast amount of oil consumption in 2030 will drop below the 100 million barrels a day for 2030, so it will be lower than last year's forecast. He also said that forecast crude oil production for 2030 will only be in the 60+ million barrels a day range, in the new IEA forecast. He didn't say that this is a decline from current production, but it is.

In the above graph of NPC forecasts, the "ASPO" figure quoted is Jean LaHerrere of ASPO Paris's number.

Robert Hirsch's Presentation

What follows are only a few slides from Robert Hirsch's presentation. After the slides I show, he goes into the need for mitigation of the types shown in his 2005 report to the Department of Energy.

Robert Hirsch explains that when he says we have a liquids fuels problem, not an energy problem, his point is that all the windmills in the world, or other types of electrical energy, won't run the vehicles currently in operation that are built to operate on petroleum based fuels.

Arthur Berman's Presentation

Art's presentation was short, only a single slide. He elaborates on the points shown in the slide below.

He starts off by saying that we are not getting off oil now, and in his view we are not getting off oil in any meaningful way in 25 years. Currently fossil fuels make up 87% of our energy use. It is really very difficult for alternative forms of energy to account for very much, and you can't put them in your car.

It is going to be nearly impossible for the US to become energy independent in the next 25 years. In fact, it is unlikely that the share we can produce ourselves will increase in the next 25 years.

Peak oil is less an issue about oil supply than it is about cost. Oil will cost more. This higher cost oil brings the economy, if not to a halt, to a "screeching slow down". We are using three times as much oil as we are finding. This has not changed in the 32 years he has worked in the field.

The various fuels shown in the EIA and IEA analyses are not interchangeable. For example, you can't put natural gas liquids in a car or airplane. Ethanol has limited uses, and requires a lot of natural gas for production.

While there still are undiscovered reserves, the new fields we are finding are smaller and smaller, and in more remote locations. The cost of production rises for these fields, adding to the high cost and recessionary impacts noted previously.

This would seem to be quite a bombshell regarding IEA forecasts, in light of their previous projections:

He (Caruso) also said that forecast crude oil production for 2030 will only be in the 60+ million barrels a day range, in the new IEA forecast. He didn't say that this is a decline from current production, but it is.

I wonder when they will take a look at "Net Export Math." The developed OECD countries are facing a squeeze play, between oil exporting countries* consuming a rising percentage of their production (from 26% in 2005 to 29% in 2009) and Chindia consuming a rising percentage of global net exports* (from 11% in 2005 to 17% in 2009).

From our ASPO presentation**:

If we extrapolate the 2005 to 2009 rate of
increase in consumption by the exporting
countries out to 2015 and if we extrapolate
Chindia's 2005 to 2009 rate of increase in net
imports out to 2015, and if we assume a very
slight production decline among the exporting
countries (0.5%/year from 2005 to 2015), then
for every three barrels of oil that non-Chindia
countries (net) imported in 2005, they would
have to make do with two barrels in 2015.

*Top 33 net oil exporters in 2005, 99%+ of global net exports

**Global net exportes, to all importers, would be down by 14% in 2015, versus 2005, with just a 5% decline in production among the exporting countries from 2005 to 2015.

Love slide #4 above, "Yet to be discovered and yet to be developed" makes up a large part of the graph...... Someone is dreaming!

I think there is a parallel graph of prediction of housing prices growing year after year infinitely/exponentially in a similar manner -- like those predicted future oil reserves. LOL

Hey, these kids actually get exponentials, cool! They give me hope in the future of humanity.
Their rap ain't all that bad either!

Franklin Gervacio - Show Me A Sine

These Japanese kids mention Peak Oil at 1:19, and they do a scatter plot of Texas and North Sea Oil production, at 1:58, WOW!

Great stuff, Gail, many thanks.

He also said that forecast crude oil production for 2030 will only be in the 60+ million barrels a day range, in the new IEA forecast. He didn't say that this is a decline from current production, but it is.

That's the understatement of the millennium. Starting now, if we're talking C+C, that's 600 kb/d lost annually. This should make for interesting reading.

All of these forecasts show a massive buildout in OPEC, especially in the ME, but at least at the moment that seems to be where production is contracting, when JODI shows demand in the top 30 nations up 3.5 mb/d YOY in June. How does that work?

I wasn't quite clear from the talk what Caruso meant by 60+ million barrels a day of production. He might have meant upper 60s for example, but wasn't sure about the numbers. Or I may have misheard something. Perhaps it was conventional crude, and tar sands, etc were elsewhere. I think we will have to look at the IEA report to see exactly what they are saying.

If someone has a different understanding from listening to the video, I would be interested in hearing it.

He's got to mean C+C, right? With the slack being taken up elsewhere - in theory, of course. Wondering where the capital will come from for that is the $25 Trillion question everyone's asking. WEO 2010 release date is Nov 9 so mark your calendar.

IEA does have this pdf flyer out: Resources to Reserves.

Resources of conventional oil have increased by some 400 billion barrels since 2005.
Together with unconventional resources, current resources amount to around
6.5 trillion barrels.

I've got to say Gail, Mr Caruso's words sounded like he knew what numbers would be coming up in the near future, and wanted to cover his a*se by putting a 'peak oil' stake in the ground. His mentioning of 60ish Mbpd by 2030, and not referring to this as a near term peak, fits with the typical way such news is dropped. You want those that know to get the implication, but not to scare the natives.

Plus he's implying 30-40Mbpd of non-crude liquids by 2030. That's not even close to being realisable, as I think most would understand. Even he says later in his presentation that unconventional liquids would be maxing out at 10Mbpd by 2030. He's announcing peak, but hiding it.

"In the medium term we're probably going to be OK" - medium term can mean 5 years.

Assuming a current production of 73 Mb/d of C&C and 60 Mb/d in 2030, that is a mere 1% average annual rate of decline. That could be optimistic unless the world stays on a production plateau for the next 5 or 10 years.

How many senators were "educated"? How influential is the EESI? It is good to see that besides ASPO there is another pretty serious organisation trying to get the attention of the stiffened braincells of the USA Congress...

BTW if the EESI approach is the concern for the economy, why not one word about whether it is possible to say anything about critical oil price levels? Until now I have heard a lot of times 80 or 85 dollars, based on historical analyses. Few days ago Hugo Chavez mentioned that the "world could easily get used to 100 dollars a barril". Also aviation industry seems to be in danger with oil price over 80 dollar. Any idea how they arrive at these figures? For me this seems crucial if you want to convince the congress or anybody else about peak oil risks....

"He also pointed out that at $80 a barrel, fuel cost exceeds personnel costs. He believes that above $80 a barrel, airlines cannot be profitable".

I was told there were 150 congressional staffers and others in attendance--standing room only. I expect that not many actual senators were there--they sent their staff. I didn't listen to the entire half hour of Q&A, but I know that one attendee identified himself as being from the CATO Institute. So it was more than congressional staffers in attendance.

I expect the EESI was trying to get a basic message across. The fact that it appears that we may be near a critical price level now was not one of the messages they were trying to get across--perhaps too threatening, and would take too much time to explain. Also, there seems to be quite a lot of support for the general idea of high prices being a problem (for example, this presentation by Energy Secretary Chu), even if there is not agreement on the exact threshold. I heard someone at the conference suggest that above $40 barrel, there starts to be a negative impact, since most of our infrastructure is built on cheaper oil than $40 barrel.

By the way, one of the analyses of the $80 to $85 barrel threshold is by Dave Murphy, found here.

Thanks, I am following the contributions of Dave Murphy quite attentively... It seems to me that indeed the indicator "oil expenses/GDP" is somewhat more trustworthy in its predicting power than just the oil price. After all, like was mentioned in the above post, it is affordability that counts. Regarding the graph that is used in your link of Murphy economic crises coincide indeed more precise with "oil expenses/GDP" (recession always after >5,5%) than with the level of the oil price (recession after >50 dollar in 1973 but >80 dollar in 1980 and 2007).

On the other hand, GDP itself is also subject to inflation. In a country suffering from decadency, the GDP might be enormous, but basic wealth (the one that you can trade, producing primary goods but also maintaining the means of production, including environment and nature) is produced less and less. This would mean that, considering our culture somewhat decadent, the treshhold of affordibility in a next oil shock will probably be lower than 6,5%.
(just an idea, economy was not my favorite subject on school :-)

Nick Snow (Oil and Gas Journal) was sitting in the row in front of me and taking copious notes.

Can you quote a paragraph or two? Some of us don't have subscriptions.

Can somebody tell us how many people from capital hill showed up and who some of them were?

The place was packed with Wal*Mart robosigners who were redcently layed off by the mortgage industry. And Monica Lewinski - she was head of the parade of interns required to attend.

Some people are starting to refer to this as the 100 Man March on Washinton for Peak Oil.

Time to go pick some cabbage, have a nice day OFM ;)...

I suspect EESI has a list of the staffers as they had sign-in sheets at the door. However, they were dispersed throughout the room (full house). There was a 30 minute period after the Q&A for staff to speak directly with the panel members and everyone else had to leave the room. I would guess there were a dozen or so representatives from various offices.

well its a start. Did any of them go to the peak oil gig at ASPO afterwards?

I doubt if any of them went although it was offered at no cost to them.

I did run into several people that were at the conference from the Washington area, but not directly working for congress. For example, I talked to someone from the International Monetary Fund, who is based in the Washington DC area.

its a good idea ...offer free food and booze....but i guess that takes money (sorry i have none to donate).

the point being, if its seen as a decent day out the office?

overall the sort of thing you guys need to do more


How many senators were "educated"?

About the same number that were "Educated" by Congressman Roscoe Bartlett's presentations back in the 2005 timeframe I would say.

The above is why no progress is being made, no steps taken in any direction save business as usual.

Too much hedging and qualifying such as, Art Berman's "We will be on oil for 25 years."

"Global resource endowment is enormous."

Why worry? We have 25 years! 'Demand' is an empty word. What does it mean? Nothing, demand is taken for granted. It will always be there, a giant sucking sound. "Fuel to run our vehicles." It's always the GD carz.

First of all, the crisis is here and now. Second, the problem is on the consumption side including net exports.

It doesn't seem like things will hold together for another two years much less 25. It's not the rate nor the reserve level but availability at a price.

Too high an oil price in real terms and the economy stalls because nobody earns enough to afford it. Call it the affordability trap. The economy has been seizing up since 2007, while oil prices have risen 500% since 1999. Oil has become too expensive to be profitable to waste. There is little energy return on the fuel that is produced and marketed. What little energy is returned comes from agriculture and production of alternatives. What happens to the rest is that it is simply consumed for 'fun'.

Fun has become too expensive not the fuel!

Doncha get it! It's the cost of 'fun' that is the real price of fuel, and that price has become so high that the entire world's economies are strangling on it.

Fun is now so expensive that by this time next year it won't be a surprise if the entire credit/reserve currency system has collapsed. The 'fun' establishment is substituting credit (in a saturated environment) for fuel. This is a form of economic suicide. The left hand steals from the right hand. It's not the total amounts remaining but the availability of oil cheap enough to support fun.

The Peak Oil peeps say we have plenty of fuel (with qualifications) and this is irrelevant. We don't have enough to subsidize fun. Without the fun there aren't enough funds to produce more fuel!

This is another bit of biz that nobody seems to understand! It's the entire cycle that is going down the rathole, consumption taking fuel production with it.

I appreciate that Art and the others are making attempts to convince policy makers that there is a serious fuel issue. Their attempts fail because they do not address the larger issue. Production does not take place outside of consumption. What is done with the fuel (energy) after it comes out of the ground is more important than the production itself. Production depends entirely on how the good produced is used and how profitable that use is!

Hello! The foregoing is in money terms. On a longer time frame (than two years) the profit must be measured in energy terms. The wall that society is going to smash into @ a high rate is very much in view. We needed to gain an energy return on energy consumption years ago, it is rapidly becoming too late to do so!

Similar to Admiral Rice @ ASPO. He calls attention to a brewing shortage situation that may manifest as early as next year! The Defense Department is the USA's largest single fuel guzzler. Is the DOD going to change its doctrine, which is why it guzzles so much fuel?

Slick dude evades question; what will happen? Nothing! The DOD is part of the problem just as above. We have 25 years, right?

Good grief!

I don't think Art was saying we have 25 years. He was more saying that we can't count on alternatives or some other approach to make things better in that time frame. Robert Hirsch had just said in the previous presentation that he expected a downturn in 2 to 5 years in oil supply, and with it a serious economic slowdown. Art is more echoing the same theme (although not mentioning a particular downturn), and adding reasons why other things are not going to save us quickly.

The way I would put it is, most of the fuels that we will have available, say 10 or 20 or even 25 years from now, will likely be from hydrocarbons. We don't have any guarantee of the availability of these fuels either, especially from oil.

Eventually we will have to live on natural energy flows, but these don't provide fuels, except for a limited amount of biomass. We will need to see how big a role the "new renewables" (solar PV, hi-tech wind, geothermal, etc) play in all of this. One needs fairly extensive infrastructure to make electricity of any kind to work in a widespread network, and the extent that this can be maintained with much reduced oil supply is unclear. It may be that we will find lower-tech approaches to using natural energy flows (low tech hydro and wind, for example) to be more sustainable over the long run.

Talking about fun as a aspect of the fundamentals, during the Carter energy crisis, I was living in Calif. SF Bay area, working at LBL. I remember there was a spurt of interest in ethanol as a fuel back then. Someone claimed to have fueled his pickup with ethanol and used forty gallons for a round trip to Tahoe for a gambling trip. I remember thinking how crazy that was. He could have gotten himself and all his buddies totally plastered for a weekend on less than 40 gal., and without all that tiresome driving! OTOH, what if he had kept his flask topped off during the trip! Wouldn't that have been fun!

I agree with everything you are saying, I don't have an argument with any of your points.

But you sound like the kid who goes around telling everyone there's no Santa Claus or Tooth Fairy, and it's met at first by shock, then boredom within 5 minutes, then within 10 minutes every kid forgets it and is out on the playground.

So oil is too expensive to burn for fun? Big deal. We'll burn it anyway. That's what we do, humans aren't rational.

So if you are waiting for someone, anyone, to be rational about it you will be waiting forever.

There is nothing about our situation that should be surprising or disappointing to anybody who is paying attention.




Your points are spot on as usual.

So with a natural decline rate(like one of the graphs says) is 4% - 7% per year, The bottom line is that the world will have to tighten our belts by 4%-7% per year forever.

Sure sounds like the end of growth to me.
(and no money for "Fun" as you said).

jc from virginia

This is the problem, forever lasts a long time

A bit of urgency is not too much to ask for. When someone with credibility like Art Berman sez "25 years" the intended recipients hear "25 years" and think "no problema!"

I realize the need to hedge and qualify, but really? It's not personal, it's a 'National Security Issue' as the Admiral from Central Casting suggested.

I don't see any urgency or sense that butt hole constricting anxiety necessary to accomplish great things or ask great sacrifices. Instead I see complacency and incrementalism.

The most compelling argument against the truth is that (pampered American) people cannot bear it. I've listened and watched Nicole Foss on more than one occasion go before the public and demonstrate in no uncertain terms how their comfortable lives are charade. "Get ready for the big crash," she says. "It's inevitable, it's coming and there isn't anything the government or the central banks can do about it!" Instead of ear- stoppage and fainting, the listeners eat it up.

Americans are desperate to hear the truth and honesty from their political betters, desperate to be challenged. It is the business community that cannot bear the losses to come, the losses they will be forced to bear by circumstances. They coopt the process, they who have corrupted the politicians, they who cannot bear the facts, they who set the stage upon which the Art Bermans and Ted Patzeks et cetera are reduced to so much impotent mush then immediately and permanently exiled to the land of 'ideas that have no consequence'.

And so it goes until the lid comes off and the finger pointing begins. What happens next? A revolution? Bodies in the streets? The period of 'Easy does it' political accommodating nonsense has passed long time ago.

Ditto with climate change. We deindustrialize or we die as a culture or die as a race or die as a species and that is that.

Mother(f*ckin') Nature does not give a damn either way.

Mother(f*ckin') Nature does not give a damn either way.

Standing clapping.

Exactly. We will keep doing what we are doing until we can't then we won't.

Lookout for yourself/Family first, Local community second, and if you have any energy left watch the national stage for entertainment.

A one or two degree change in direction of the titanic won't make any difference.
Looking at the 2005 Hirsch report saying we need 20 years PRE-peak to change, well that's all she wrote. And the people in the Bush admin told him in no uncertain terms "Don't mention Peak Oil again in ANY presentation". THAT is the reaction we can expect from any central planning Gov. agency.

Work on the life boat for Family/friends, and local community.

Fare Thee Well Steve.

It doesn't need to rise to demand.

Simple economics says you just raise the price and that raising of price will reduce demand to match the amount of product.

There. Peak Oil Solved. Free Market people can rejoice in their positions being shown as correct!

That's right. There may be a major recession, with 25% of the population unemployed, but supply and demand will match, it is just that in this example, demand will be reduced to match supply.

What are "we" willing to "give up" to reduce demand then? What has to be kept?

The TOD pitch of 'lets keep Oil for food production' had proposals for 1/4 a million dollar battery packs for 1/6 a million dollar combines.

The last time someone suggested 'lets cut fuel use for boating' resulted in more mail to the White House than any other idea at the time.

What are "we" willing to axe? The floor on heating seems to be 65 Degrees per State laws. On water conservation - I just learned about the idea of WASHING your dishes with cold water. I'm rather sure that is a non-starter.

What are "we" willing to "give up" to reduce demand then? What has to be kept?

It's not a question of what you are willing to give up, it is a question of what you will have to give up because you can no longer afford it.

My own choice would be to give up driving to work, which I did many years ago in favor of the wind-powered electric trains which I am fond of mentioning every so often. Now that I'm retired, it's no longer an issue.

Many people don't have that option, which they would have - if they had thought this through years ago when there was still time left to plan for it.

Gail, I basically agree with your statement, however I just can't imagine that with 25% unemployment all hell will not have broken loose by then. I also think that once all hell has broken loose demand will plummet because those who might at that point still be able to afford fossil fuels will no longer feel safe to consume them in the same manner as it is now done.

I think Roy Zimmerman has it nailed. The ship will end up sinking and at that point all bets will be off. So those that still have jobs will have their days numbered regardless.

I disagree. A lot of people who work in medicine and higher education (where doctors, scientists, specialists are trained) plus (unfortunately) plenty of military plus some government workers will probably (maybe legitimately??) argue that their jobs are most necessary for the whole shebang to keep going. So they will argue that they should have access to the oil and food first.....and uneducated ordinary people should line up after them. Isn`t this what is happening actually? Obama and Geithner are eating nice dinners while those in trailer parks are going hungry.....but everyone agrees that that is the right way. SInce human beings like complexity so much, we are willing to let those who grasp complexity best have the food first. It must be another one of our quirky human qualities.

Well, of course everyone wants access to antibiotics and basic medical care.

But what the elite get through this is kind of a good thing: everyone else makes the transition first, when it is roughest to do so. People go back to little towns, start farming, making things. Meanwhile the elite still live in cities. WHen the cities are finally pretty empty and the little towns need specialists, the elite are ready to move into the little towns, but not as farmers.

It might take 20-30 years, a generation.

Thank you, Gail.

Simple economics says you just raise the price and that raising of price will reduce demand to match the amount of product.

...until, only Bill Gates will be able to buy gas, or toys, or computers, or... After that, who cares?


Oh, there will be others who's net worth is FAR less than the result of 2 lawyers breeding who'll have all the fuel they need.

The political class.

Look at Russia - the political class were not on waiting lists like the rest of the citizens.

And who'll care? Samuel Byck is your poster child.

Look at Russia - the political class were not on waiting lists like the rest of the citizens.

One slight difference is that the people waiting in line in Russia weren't carrying semi-autos when the elite cut in ahead of them.

Our experience may be a little more "Exciting" so to speak.

Jus sayin

only Bill Gates will be able to buy gas, or toys, or computers, or...

Among his other toys, Bill Gates bought a railroad system to play with - a large share of CN Rail, one of the two big Canadian class 1 railroads. His buddy, Warren Buffet, bought all of a US class 1 railroad - BNSF (Burlington Northern Santa Fe).

What does it tell you when the two richest men in the world are buying big railroads?
1) They just like to play with big toys, or
2) they think it will make them a lot of money, or
3) both of the above.
Only time will tell how much fun they will get out of it (but so far Bill has made a fortune on it, albeit modest compared to what he already has.)

Re. two slides by Guy Caruso:

1. ...Natural decline rates of oil and gas fields will require massive investment to replace and expand supply...

2. but when, how and by whom will the $$ be spent ?


Did anyone at ASPO pay any attention to Stoneleigh's presentation?

Why does Guy not add "where will the ??? come from" when the global financial system is in the process of collapse?

Where will the capital come from Guy?

Where will we get the $26.1 trillion (current estimate) ?

How many trillions more would it cost in the real world (sans WAG)?

When we do we add the costs of going to other planets and solar systems to this stupid charade ?

"Where will we get the $26.1 trillion?"

The governments will run massive deficits and the Fed and other central bankers will simply print the money.

I think the Congressional Caucus from Venus and Jupiter said they will buy US bonds after the Fed, the Treasury and bankers are in jail, but not until then... and

(seriously, I forgot this was a presentation of pablum for Congress... i.e. not to be taken seriously, they need to appear to be doing something constructive, and they need something to occupy the time of congressional interns.)

but then the dollar will be weaker like happens today, and you can buy less oil for your dollar...

I find it helpful to think of it in another way:

Each Dollar now contains less energy.

I bet you will find they contain more energy these days by burning the actual paper they are printed on. :-S

No, no, no, if you stretch a dollar bill, you will give it potential energy. As the dollar bill is released, potential energy is changed to kinetic energy. Voila! All we need to do is build some machines that take advantage of all that pent up potential energy from everyone stretching their dollars. So the more we collectively stretch our dollars they will contain not less but *MORE* energy. Heck, we can power our entire economy with stretched dollars, no problem!

I think I can run for office and win on that platform, if nothing else I'm sure I can convince the Tea Party that this will really work. Start stretching folks!

And no, that isn't a picture of Sarah Palin stretching her dollar...

The governments will run massive deficits and the Fed and other central bankers will simply print the money.

The Chinese are getting a bit leery about buying up all that debt, so the deficit approach has just about run its course. However, instead of printing money, the Fed now uses "Quantitative Easing". It amounts to about the same thing, but avoids all that messy ink and paper involved in printing money. Forget about debasing the coinage, don't worry about people noticing an inordinate amount of paper money in circulation. Just type an amount into your computer, hit enter, and there the money is.

Quantitative Easing. The new, modern way to turn your currency into something that nobody wants in their wallet. Look for it coming to a bank near you. It didn't work for the Japanese, but maybe you might be luckier. Or not.

Hey, the Ferengi are know to have a weakness, they'll do anything for a good earlobe massage, even give up their hard earned Latinum, who knows $26.1 trillion might be more easy to come by than we could possibly have imagined.

command economy

You mean as in 'Sieg heil mein Fuhrer!'? Nah, no thank you.

Internets WIN!

Interesting, I was just reading this.

(CNN) -- Playing cards with images of Hitler. Toy fuhrers. And a lamp and church tapestry with swastikas emblazoned across the front.

No, it's not a neo-Nazi convention. Rather, it is a groundbreaking exhibit that opened Friday in the German capital and is intended to show Adolf Hitler's relationship with the German people.

Heh, if nothing else it puts to rest once and for all the stupid myth that Hitler was an atheist and therefore all the atrocities the Germans perpetrated on other humans was because of his godless amoral leadership and his atheistic influence on what would otherwise have been an upstanding God fearing people.

It turns out it's just a bit of historical perspective on how an entire nation can be hoodwinked. Americans somehow still think they are above all this, they are profoundly mistaken.

church tapestry with swastikas emblazoned across the front
it puts to rest once and for all the stupid myth that Hitler was an atheist

Swastikas have been part of churches for years. For your desired 'put to rest' statement you'd have to show Hitler's motivation and direct action in that matter.

I'd say it was branding/putting the symbol of the State in all locations. That's now called 'marketing'.

how an entire nation can be hoodwinked. Americans somehow still think they are above all this, they are profoundly mistaken.

One doesn't need to argue religion for that. One can point to the history of Propaganda.

One doesn't need to argue religion for that. One can point to the history of Propaganda.

I don't necessarily disagree with that. Most religion is also based on propaganda.

However, the Hitler was an atheist and that was what made his atrocities possible, is a very common argument proffered by theists as proof of the amorality of atheists in general.

The Pope himself has used this ploy to stir up the faithful.

Catholics demand that atheists apologize for Hitler

I wouldn’t have believed that even somebody as wacko as Catholic League president Bill Donohue would do this if I hadn’t seen it myself. The Catholic League has just posted a demand that atheists apologize for Hitler. And not just for Hitler:

The pope cited Hitler today, asking everyone to “reflect on the sobering lessons of atheist extremism of the 20th century.” Immediately, the British Humanist Association got its back up, accusing the pope of “a terrible libel against those who do not believe in God.”

BTW I was raised as a Catholic and there are many still devoutly religious relatives of mine who firmly believe to this day that Hitler was indeed an atheist. Even though he was actually a Catholic...

I wish to point out The Oil Drum has this MAJOR Public Relations problem getting the message out. Many of the presenters have joined peak oil at the hip with 'Global Warming' or 'Climate Change' or whatever the hell it is being packaged as this week. That issue is seen by the public as political and by most as a scam. I have sent people to TOD and got back, oh, it's 'those' people and your message has been dismissed because of the company you keep. I implore you to make this an ECONOMIC and GEOLOGIC argument, that's what won me over, instead of a ECOLOGICAL and GEOLOGIC issue. I think you will start getting more peoples attention that way. Face it, the Eco community has been TOO radical for TOO long and nobody listens to them. Stick to the facts and ditch the eco hype and you will get much further getting the peak oil message out. Just MHO.

I should mention, this present looked like an EXCELLENT start down the path that I'm advocating. If you want the conservatives on board you will need to leave out the global warming angle, big time. :-S

. I implore you to make this an ECONOMIC and GEOLOGIC argument, that's what won me over, instead of a ECOLOGICAL and GEOLOGIC issue.

This is Sparta^H^H^H^H^H^HThe Internet.

How exactly do you plan on controlling the message on a forum?

I don't plan on controlling anything. I'm just suggesting a way to get the message out a wee bit better that it has been getting out so far. Any harm in that?

You don't plan on controlling anything - fine.

Guess what? This is an open forum and if the masses want to talk about the ECOLOGY than that is what gets talked about.

Unless someone plans to control the conversation via account removal/post removal - ECOLOGY is going to be a topic of discussion. There are topics here that don't get talked about.

And, like it or not, what YOU think is an incorrect image will be posted unless YOU can somehow "censor" that which you don't like.

(with your lack of response - is that your passive admission that you now understand your plea is a cry for censorship?)

OMFG! -WOW- CHILL OUT! All the person is saying that -WE ALL- need to use, -ALL- the ways and means of getting the "Bad news" out. And that we might do well by taking a different track to do that.

The FACT of the matter is, ALL our efforts,
to make the "masses" aware of Peak Oil have FAILED.


And THIS is how you embrace people bring up other ways to do PR?!

The FACT of the matter is, ALL our efforts,
to make the "masses" aware of Peak Oil have FAILED.

True. But the more important question to ask is...why?

I have several theories.

A) The blind incorporation of its hallucinated consequences within the schemes of others as the Apocalypse/Rapture trigger scares off regular people from being associated with the ideas.

B) Deviation from the actual resource depletion science by what I would refer to as "educated" true believers. These people lend credence to the topic until you investigate how far from the science they need to stray to make their case. This reveals the depth of their "belief". A regular person examining this realizes that these people have strayed into an advocacy scheme of some sort.

C)"The boy who cried wolf" routine, taught since birth as a bad thing to fall for. So there is a natural instinct to avoid those who saying we're all going to die, "running out" (in prior guises), everyone needs to live like me 'cause I'm really smart (just ignore my jetting around the world I do to tell you how to live, or the SUV I drive because my wife likes to feel safe). Unfortunately, there is an implication in this one that some day...some time...the boy will be right. Referred to as "kicking the can" when it comes to peak predictions, for example. Certainly, in one century or another, the prediction will come true, no one disagrees with that.

Certainly these are reasonable as starter theories, but they would seem to cover many of the attitudes displayed by those who don't buy into peak...any of them.

Deviation from the actual resource depletion science by what I would refer to as "educated" true believers.

RGR can't give an example of actual resource depletion science. If there was a conventionally accepted science, it would be taught in textbooks. But of course it isn't and the only science exists at the periphery.

RGR can't give an example of actual resource depletion science. If there was a conventionally accepted science, it would be taught in textbooks.

What a perfectly academic view on the topic. If it isn't taught in a textbook, it must not be true.

No wonder your institution isn't qualified to teach petroleum engineers, you ivory tower guys can't even be bothered to read a peer reviewed journal (where such scientific discussions take place all the time) or even review pertinent laws (which already reflect the knowledge and science of depletion and its practical applications to oilfield operations).

And still you can't name one.
It shouldn't really be that hard. Just find something on the order of Hubbert Linearization but with some first principles foundation to it. You can't and that's the problem. You can cast aspersions my way all you wanr
t, but that does nothing to hide the ultimate failings of mainstream oil depletion science. In the mainstream, there is no 'there' there. Deffeyes is really all you have, yet what program uses that as an adjunct textbook? It is hardly what I would call rigorous.

Already named one. And the year the regulations started. You said you couldn't be bothered. Don't blame me for YOUR blinders.

So everyone realizes, RGR's reference was to work in the year 1918.

He has no intent of ever lifting a finger, otherwise it could jeopardize revealing his identity. Therefore all he gives are vague references to information so far back that it won't link back to him via some paper trail.

He has been playing this head-fake game since early this summer :

You keep on mentioning that the secret to oil depletion lies in the Federal Regulations of 1918.

Again, your insistence that knowing nothing about a topic continues to interfere with a coherent conversation. I told you once before, if I thought you actually understood what depletion was, perhaps we could talk. You implied that you understood what you were talking about. My mistake for taking your word for it.

Check this out. If you Google "creaming curves" , you will get my blog as the top two hits. This isn't a fluke, "hyperbolic decline" is in the top 10. Oh but then I see that I have the top hit for "reservoir size distributions". I gotta tell you, my friend, as I continue cranking on this, it will only get worse. There is a huge hole in understanding and I am the guy that is filling it. Nothing you can do about this because your industry has deliberately ignored these topics over the years and the Google search engine is revealing this.

If you still don't get it, that is the equivalent of you having a top hit in some electrical engineering topic. And it is not just one topic, but a bunch across the board. Does that make your head explode or what?

Just curious :)

.....There is a huge hole in understanding and I am the guy that is filling it....

Yup, You 'da man, Web!

I gotta tell you, my friend, as I continue cranking on this, it will only get worse. There is a huge hole in understanding and I am the guy that is filling it. While certainly the most amusing claim of the evening, it doesn't come close to this absolute gut buster.

No refutation from your end. All I am doing is deriving Laherrere's observation of hyperbolic trends in creaming curves and reserve growth.

Interesting that no one has ever pointed out the unification.


I don't get it. Why do you keep entangling yourself with RGR?

Is this what you were put here on Earth to do?

Second, why waste time re-deriving all the mathematical theory when it is already mapped out in the Mentaculus? ;-)

'Tis bizarre, Step Back.

This is pushing their hot buttons, because what I discuss is defying the Fight Club motto.

The first rule of fight club is -- you don't talk about Fight Club. The second rule of Fight Club is -- you DO NOT talk about Fight Club.

So it is A Serious Man mixed in with Fight Club. Their Mentaculus has never been mapped out.

Hey, Reservegrowth dude. Don't know who you are. I'm not one of the science dudes here (other than a Com Sci dude), just a regular guy off the street who happened to tune into this about 3 1/2 years ago. They have sold me on it and I don't buy off on the other 'science' blue light specials out there. If you don't believe it that's your thing and you can go on according to your beliefs, why don't you tell me how that works out for ya in about 10 years, K, because to tell you honestly I would dearly love to have you tell me "I told you so!"

They have sold me on it and I don't buy off on the other 'science' blue light specials out there. If you don't believe it that's your thing and you can go on according to your beliefs, why don't you tell me how that works out for ya in about 10 years, K, because to tell you honestly I would dearly love to have you tell me "I told you so!"

Its already been 10 years. You see, a global peak oil happened in about 1979 and the US went bonkers (again) over the concept of "running out" (it wasn't called peak then). The President gave speeches, the oil shales were subsidized, natural gas was forbidden for use in making electricity because we were running out of that as well, it was absolute bedlam. Those energy crisis had rationing and shortages as well.

This peak oil (2005 or 2008) has been pretty lightweight when compared to that one.

So...glad to have you in the conversation, enjoy the euphoria of the information and being part of the "in" crowd, and in 10 years,who knows what will have happened. Seems like gamma bursts and the random stray asteroid would be more worthy of all our attentions, but everyone needs a hobby.

Goodmaj is right if you want to market to many businessmen and conservatives -- they understand supply and demand, pricing impacts, and resource shortages. They won't buy politically loaded eco issues -- manufactured doubt has killed that for a decade.

If you want the conservatives on board you will need to leave out the global warming angle, big time.

If you want the conservatives on board for what purpose? Not to get the government to do something, surely?

Just theoretically now mind you, wouldn't it be nice to have everyone on board? Then maybe your dream of something happening might just, you know, happen...

OR... Is the goal here just to cry in the wilderness so we can feel good about ourselves when TSHTF while everything crumbles around us and we can feel smug and say 'I told you so!'?

You develop two arguments one that factors in the AGW crowd and one that emphasises energy security and economic well being(with out really saying what that is).

you deploy either and or both as needs be. And blurr over the bits either camp doesn't like

Basic politics

you know.... lies

I think you actually summed up my argument in Para 3. Politics.

Avoid the politics and get the message out.

I'm NOT trying to tweak your beak. I'm trying to get people to listen to the message. I'm might disagree with your politics, but I'm 100% with you when it comes to peak oil and what it means for the future. I'm trying to say the politics is diluting the message.

It will collide with politics an issue of this sort. trying to avoid it is naive. cover all the bases.

framing the message will always be problematic because the bottom line is less.


Thought you might be interested in a recent poll of Orange County residents conducted a few weeks ago by California State University, Fullerton. Orange County, by the way, is overwhelmingly Republican. With regard to climate change/global warming:

Some 56% generally thought that humans were a root cause.

A comparable majority (about 55%) told interviewers that they thought that the nation’s well-being was threatened by global warming.

Nearly three-quarters of respondents affirmed their interest in protecting the environment, agreeing or strongly agreeing that protecting the environment should be given priority, even in a recession.

More than half – about 58% -- agreed that stronger environmental regulation will limit economic growth. However: More than seven out of ten Orange County residents surveyed agreed or strongly agreed that there should be stricter laws and regulations to protect the environment.

I would say, we shouldn't assume that one message fits all.

I agree that with your last statement that one message doesn't fit all. But, what would that same poll show is say, Texas? California isn't exactly the center of what would be considered middle of the road repub country.

Hi Debbie,

Thanks, this is interesting.

1) Do you think (or do you have evidence that...) this result translates to consistency with votes in favor of such "regulations to protect the environment"?

2) Has there been any similar survey done for "peak oil"?

3) What do you see as the most effective way of addressing "peak" to this constituency? (If this is not too broad or difficult a question. I'm just interested in your views and experience.)

Goodmaj, the fact is that the only people who think the climate change problem is "political" or a "scam" are people who are completely ignorant on the topic. Contrary to your claim, the people and groups trying (quite admirably) to increase awareness of peak oil face a credibility problem caused by the fact that some of them seem to be vocal climate change denialists (which is quite non-admirable). And weirdly, some people who are concerned about climate change seem to be ignorant of peak oil. I find this an interesting sociological puzzle ---but also very disturbing and distressing, since both problems are real and serious (and intertwined), and ideally, you know, efforts to deal with one problem should be undertaken while keeping an eye on trying not to make the other one worse. Not that anything serious is actually going to be done about either until it's too late, sadly. But maybe people could at least stop throwing around just plain stupid remarks like "that's just a scam." That's not asking too much.

Yes, I guess since I deny it I'm a denialist. I deny is because:
1. You roll out a chart the come out of the middle of the last mini ice age and say there is a global temperature rise. Of course there is... Duh. Try from the Roman age.
2. You claim to have consensus and you don't, not even close. There are many climate doctorates out there that have stated that the jury is still out and the evidence is inconclusive, but they get shouted down or worse they get their funding pulled if they dare speak out against it. And you accuse me of being FLAT EARTH type. I guess it could be worse, they haven't treaten to execute them yet over the issue like in the flat earth days.
3. Your only fact you have to base a whole science on and change the economy political plan on is that CO2 levels are 4 time higher since the industrial age started. Good fact. What's it mean? I don't know and neither do you.
4. Ice core samples show that we have had 2 or 3 global warming periods since entering our agrarian stage of human development.
5. Your computer models have way to many variables to be able to accurately predict anything beyond a week or maybe a month. Don't you have a complexity analyst on this site? Ask him what happens as you add variables you don't understand fully to a system you're trying to model.

I think those are enough reasons to have some doubts about spending billions or trillions of dollars reducing something I don't consider being a pollutant to begin with.

BUT, since this is a board about Peak Oil, I will refrain from discussing this issue in the future since I violate too many religious viewpoints doing it and I am sensitive to the religious viewpoints of others.

BUT, since this is a board about Peak Oil, I will refrain from discussing this issue in the future since I violate too many religious viewpoints doing it and I am sensitive to the religious viewpoints of others.

Really great idea! Especially since all of your points have been thoroughly debunked over and over again by actual climate scientists. Yeah, I know, why would you ever believe what they have to say. They're making so much money keeping the hoax alive.

Then again, you might want to read a few of the linked articles from here:

Or just visit
Who knows you might be able to convince them that you're right and know more than they do.

Franklin Rusco posted a chart that shows that we have about 47 years of reserves, at current consumption and the caption states: "To date petroleum reserves growth has more than kept up with consumption" And the BP Statistical Review is given as the source of this data.

Tad Patzek produced a slide that states: "There is plenty of fossil fuel ("Resources") left all over the Earth".

Guy Caruso's Presentation gave us a slide that shows the vast majority of oil reserves in the Middle East and the caption reads: "Global resource endowment is enormous but conventional distribution is uneven...."

All these statements are patently false. Petroleum reserves growth has not kept up with consumption. It only appears to do so because OPEC nations update their reserves every year, with a pencil, to show that their reserves grow every year. There is not "plenty" of fossil fuel resources left, it only appears so because of OPEC's vastly inflated reserves. And the Middle East does not have the vast majority of oil reserves and conventional distribution is not all that uneven. It only appears to be uneven because of the vast mythical reserves claimed by Middle Eastern OPEC nations.

Even the peak oil advocates get it all wrong... Pity.

Ron P.

Patzek is talking about "resources," not necessarily extractable economically. That is what everyone else is looking at too. They don't translate to reserves, but I think he is correct, in saying that the resources are there. Theoretically, with a technological breakthrough, we could extract more heavy oil, for example, that is in the resource category now.

I really think that is just an excuse. Much like the oil industry guys that attack me for suggesting that the government should estimate reserves as opposed to just doing assessments, they are avoiding the issue. In reality, what they need to do is give the best estimate with the knowledge we have now. If this means calculating reserves, they should do that.

An analogy would be a weather forecaster that refuses to give the daily high temperature for the weekend, instead deciding to give only the historical minimum temperature for that date. Of course that is meaningless, but there is a very low probability that he will be declared wrong. For most of the bureaucrats it is more important to be right than to stick your neck out on the line.

keeping it civil in this public arena is a tight rope. depending on the setting you can ramp up the hostility but you need not criticise anything that doesn't detract from your position

you can privately think the guys stuff is a load of tosh but you need too weigh up that need to dispute vs gains or losses when getting your message across

I agree that essentially the speakers in question were using borderline "weasel words" tactics

but interestingly they struggled to make any sort of coherent message and just babbled a lot.

Resources are there:

Astronomers say they have spotted a cloud of alcohol in deep space that measures 463 billion kilometres across, a finding that could shed light on how giant stars are formed from primordial gas.

The vast bridge-shaped cloud of methyl alcohol has been spotted in a region of our galaxy, the Milky Way, that is called W3(OH), where stars are being formed by the gravitational collapse of concentrations of gas and dust, the discoverers said in a press release.

Gee... and we won't even have to leave our own galaxy to exploit it...


We call that: "Pie-in-the-sky oil reserves!"

To paraphrase Captain Janeway: there's booze in that nebula.

I like Hirsch. Sounds credible even if you do not agree with everything he says. Has gravitas and leadership qualities.

The silver backed Gorilla of the PO community. ;-)

I think he misses a trick with the liquid fuels argument when it comes to displacing other fossil fuels used in electric production with conservation or thermal efficiency measures.

While he stands against placing passive thermal solar heating in the mitigation category he does not rule out CTL, but if he joined up the argument more he could argue increases in CTL CO2 could be offset in part by these other greener technologies and conservation measures and in so stating recapture some of the carbon crowd. Marginalizing this sort of "green angle" is unnecessary from a political POV.

I think it is really important to understand that this was not a purely ASPO or at all an oil drum (as someone said in comments) event - it was an EESI briefing in which ASPO provided a lot of experts. This matters because the way we got 150 people into that room was by using EESI's reputation and presenting an evenhanded approach. Guy Caruso wasn't there from ASPO (not a big surprise, I would think) - in fact I think what was important and startling was how deferential Caruso was to the peak oil community and the degree to which he implicitly supported our anslysis. But Caruso and Rusco were not there to offer a pro-peak oil analysis, but to provide a balanced counterweight to ASPO's experts. And the analysis was of the purely geological and geophysical elements of this - it wasn't a narrative about the economy, but to familiarize people with the issues facing liquid fuels in the near future.

In this sense, to anyone in the peak oil community, it probably looks like we didn't cover enough material - but that's partly the point. This is an introductory analysis, often to people who are familiar with peak oil as a lefty doomer story, not as an account of geological realities. The first step in getting them to take those realities seriously is to offer up an impartial, balanced analysis, and let them begin to understand the basics.

Again, I think it is really easy from long familiarity with these issues not to get how *unfamiliar* and new they are to a lot of people - including people who really should know better, but observing that doesn't help any of us. For example, the questioner from the CATO institute stood up and asked a question that had already been answered by Dr. Patzek and Art Berman about the implications of deepwater discoveries. What that points out is the degree to which people need to hear very basic information conveyed credibly to them.

I also understand the inclination to say that it is all doesn't matter and throw up your hands. That said, however, there are a substantial number of mitigatory strategies that could be enacted by governments even if they don't fix it - or at least we could get out of the habit of making it worse, say, give up the fantasy of building roads and runways withour remaining cash and start doing something to help protect people falling into poverty. The process of getting even limited results starts this way - it is slow, boring and annoying to have to do it this late in the game. But the reality is that many people don't grasp these concepts and unless we do the work of banging them into everyone we can, the end result is worse for all of us.

Right now, my government looks to me like it is 1983 and they are about to blow all their cash on Betamax technology investments - we're working on assumptions that we here all know are totally flawed. In a better world, it wouldn't be necessary to lay the very basic groundwork of suggesting there might be a problem at this late date. We don't live there - and I think what ASPO and EESI did was enormously important.

Sharon Astyk

Yes! Thank you! That's what I'm talking about (just not saying it very well I guess). If we have to talk baby talk to get the message out, let's talk baby talk and stop ostracizing people just because they aren't like you.

I thought you were arguing in favor of not saying anything about climate change -- because that's just "politics" -- in order to get out the presumably non-political word about peak oil. The fact is that, when I, in my own small way, try to get the word out, that's exactly what I do. I make no attempt to link the peak oil message to the climate change message, even though I think that the policy prescription implied by either message, writ broadly, is precisely the same: We need to get off fossil fuels, and soon.

I note that the recent book by Hirsch, Bezdek, and Wendling makes what I would consider the mirror image of the rhetorical mistake you have criticized, since they went out of their way to express skepticism about climate change while seeking to spread the message about peak oil. It seems to me that this was unnecessary and unwise if, indeed, "the goal" is to get everyone on board with regard to peak oil, the climate change zealots as well as the AGW-skeptics.

I haven't had a chance to read their new books yet. I hope to rectify that soon. Thank you for point out their positions. I applaud anyone who sticks to the core message of peak oil and if that is your goal I thank you for your message.

Speaking as one of the very few self identified conservatives here, I must say that as a matter of good basic politics this forum would probably be somewhat more successful in getting out the peak oil/environmental crisis message if some of the more passionate commenters would tone down thier rhetoric a bit when it comes to bashing republicans and conservatives-who are not necessarily one and the same.

I haven't actually counted thge instances of what I would consider political versus conservative mud slinging,as opposed to making an honest point, but my guess is that five or ten times as much is from the left as from the right;this is only to be expected here of course because very few conservatives who happen to stumble across this forum will stick around to read the insults directed at thier morals, values, and intelligence.

I have a very thick skin, and calluses on my ears from hanging around construction workers and on my palms that extend right around to my knuckles so when somebody attacks me personally I actually enjoy a little roll in the dirt, and I can support my statements and positions.

There are many conservative people who are well educated and politically savvy who do understand the environmental crisis as well as the energy crisis and who are ready , if approached civilly,to work together with liberals to solve our problems.

I have been all over the political map myself during my lifetime, and I am technically well educated -ag majors are heavy on biology, chemistry, and that sort of stuff.So I get it.

But the simple truth of the matter is that as a society, we are woefully ignorant of the basic sciences,and the lessons to be learned only after gaining an understanding of them,regardless of our political leanings.

Most of us who are members of this forum are , if the truth be told, accepting the bigger part of the global warming and climate change story as a matter of faith.I have asked many a liberal greenie acquaintance a few simple questions about basic issues relating to a science based understanding of climate change,and I can say with a great deal of certainty that excepting a handful who are science or biology teachers, the vast majority of them don't have a clue.

Nor for that matter do my conservative acquaintances, excepting an even smaller handful who also happen to have the basics of a broad scientific education.

So how do we-all of us- evaluate a message that we are unqualified to judge on its merits?

We look around to see what our role models have to say about it.We believe the people who either share our values, or successfully pretend to share them, if we see them as successful and worthy of emulation.

I trust my doctor as a matter of choice and necessity as his knowledge is far superior to mine in the area of human health.

I used to trust in the power of the free market to solve our problems, because at that time I really believed it could-and took a couple of semesters of econ taught by professors who believed it.Why should I have believed differently?

People who have been immersed in the liberal culture evaluate the climate change /environmental crisis message as valid not because they necessarily understand it but because it is part of the cultural message they get from thier role models.

People who are conservatives disbelieve it because it is not consistent with the cultural message broadcast by thier role models.

But intelligent people of any stripe can be convinced to change thier minds if presented with information they deem to be from reliable sources.

Documents such as the JOE reports put out by the pentagon will impress people who trust and respect the military establishment.

But if they happen to try this forum on for size after reading the report, they rightly-from thier pov-dismiss the forum as the habitat of a bunch of dumbass pacifist soft headed weenies who would destroy the country in a year if they ever come to power by diasmantling the military-which they see as absolutely necessary in a Darwinian world-even though they may not believe in Darwin and evolution!

It would be good if the science could be seperated a bit more from the politics, at least in principle.It would mean we could reach a few more people who are in a position to spread the message.

It would also help if liberals would make an effort to understand conservatism in principler, rather than defining it as it is today after being hijacked bu the bau establishment.

For instance, as a true conservative, I believe:

That what consenting adults do when alone is nobody's business but thier own;

That if you want to drink or smoke pot, that is your busines, and not mine;

That big business has hornswaggled us as a society, and needs a severe pruning of the sort that was made famous as trust busting a century ago.To wit, we need to clean up the air.

We can pee away most of the money creating a new slush pit for the banker/accountant /broker hogs to wallow and slurp up billions;or we could pass a simple carbon tax that would be hard to game or avoid, and get the job done efficiently and without supporting nearly so many parasites of the gold in sacks variety.

Anybody who hasn't read the Matt Tabbi piece in Rolling Stone linked by Ghung yesterday should do so.

OFM, you are what used to be called a progressive. Today some wierd elements have taken over that very nice title, and now I am not sure. My impression of TOD has always been that it is relatively non-political; some are conservative, others liberal, and most are, like me, mixed. Peak Oil is not a political issue, and should not be. It is too important for that.

My earlier comments stand... I hope that rejected Republicans and dejected Democrats can get together and make things work a bit better. I only wish it was happening now, and had happened years ago. I left the Democratic Party in 1968, when I could not tell any real difference between the two parties. And, I think Barry Goldwater would be agast at what has happened to the Republican Party and the coservative philosophy he espoused. My only serious objection to Barry was his attitude toward war in general and Vietnam in particular.


Well said !

Best Hopes for examining positions instead of prejudices,


PS: I was hoping that you would introduce yourself to me @ ASPO. Send me an eMail sometime.

OFM, while you claim to be a conservative, many of your views are moderate or independent in nature, so I'll not put a label on you yet (other than horticulturist, pomologist, and intelligentsia).

I was struck by two of your statements;

Most of us who are members of this forum are , if the truth be told, accepting the bigger part of the global warming and climate change story as a matter of faith

But then you turned around and said;

I trust my doctor as a matter of choice and necessity as his knowledge is far superior to mine in the area of human health.

I see distinct parallels here...

It would be good if the science could be seperated a bit more from the politics

I agree completely, which is why I urge you to read reports from some of the best and the brightest in science. If you only look at two this weekend, try these;

- Limiting the Magnitude of Future Climate Change, National Research Council of the US National Academy of Sciences, May 2010

- Climate change odds much worse than thought, MIT Center for Global Change Science, 2009

I'd value your considered opinion on them.

Hi Will,

Thanks for the links, i will get to them shortly;but as a matter of fact, I am already firmly in the believer's camp as far as climate change in general and warming in particular are concerned.

My remarks about trusting my doctor reflect my own ignorance of the subtlety of human physiology of course;I trust him because I know his that the track record of his profession is very good, compared to that of faith healers, witch doctors , and my long gone old Granny;also because he inspires me as a man of great understanding in other respects as well as a physician.

I trust the cc and warming advocates partly because I have on my own initiative investigated the evidence, a good bit of which I am able to evaluate personally,as can almost anybody, and which is freely available at libraries and on the net.

I trust partly because I have faith in science in general, and the integrity of the overall scientific community.

I do not trust economists any more, to anywhere near the extent that I used to, because I have learned that they are quite fallible in thoery as well as practice.

But my point is that I actually know enough about these things to have real fact based opinions of my own.

My "conservative " friends don't as a rule know enough about economics to know where the profession fails, either in fact or in theory, even though some of them have degrees in business and closely related fields.They for instance believe substitutes can be found for anything;but then so do lots of professors of econ, and the vast bulk of the populace, both "liberal" and "conssrvative", as that is what they have learned to believe as a result of listening to thier role models, who range from thier banker to thier lawyer to thier boss to thier political leaders, of either stripe;nearly everybody believes in eternal growth.If we run out of oil, we just use electricity, right?

So the conservatives believe as the liberals do in the conventional economists.

But the climate change message has been polluted by being associated with many things so called "conservatives" detest, such as more govt in general;and since "conservatives" so often find themselves holding "the shxtty end of the stick" in terms of govt,especially "liberal govt" they have a strong natural tendency to distrust new govt initiatives.They see these things as giant con games-which is very often the case.I for instance have yet to meet a liberal as pissed of about the bank bailouts as the AVERAGE conservative of my acquaintance.

(I might interject here that although I am slightly acquaunted with a very few moderately rich people, my conservative circle consists mostly of small timer hard working self reliant small business types who pay taxes like Warren Buffet's secretary.My liberal circle consists of mostly teachers, social workers, medical people-nearly all of them dependent on govt for thier bread after some fashion.)

The liberal group has a far more positive attitude in respect to govt, as it has been far better to them, and therefore they trust it more.

The "conservative" element of my community mostly believes that the ROLLING STONE is a commie front publication (the ones who know what a commie front is, at least) but if they were to read Matt Tabbi's piece on the role the banksters have planned for cap and trade, they would have an extra book inserted into thier Bibles-the gospel of St Tabbi, and put it close by the chapters on Jesus's relations with bankers.

So in the end we believe what we want to believe, according to how well it fits into our world view;liberals trust the liberal establishment;conservatives trust the conservative establishment;every body's final judgement is colored by percieved self interest.

The climate change and warming message is closely (and unfortunately) associated in conservative eyes with the overall liberal agenda, so it is likely to be dismissed out of hand.Otoh, some conservative issues/ positions/ values are likewise dismissed out of hand by the liberal establishment;such dismissals in euther direction are apt to be based more on prejudice than on facts.

As it happens the liberal establishment is right in trusting the climate researchers;but it is only an historical accident that they happen to be both honest and right in this particular case;there are other equally large and influential groups of people embedded in the power structure that are as crooked as snakes or at least as useless as hog saddles.;and if I must say anything in favor of bull headed conservatism, it's follower's are not so gullible as the average liberal, and so quick to fall for a something for nothing pitch-at least not if it originates with the govt.

For what it is worth I am thinking of dropping the word conservative, as it has been so badly gang raped in recently years that I fear it cannot be brought back into the ranks of respectable words, as is the case also with the word liberalism.

Maybe from here on out I will refer to myself here in this forum as a realist or a rationalist.

mac- Agree with you about labels. Even when they are accurate they’re still subject to each person’s definition of that label. Your “realist” is good but still subject to individual definition. I like the prejudiced vs. non-prejudiced classification. Still somewhat clumsy though. I see just as many liberals supporting AGW as conservative rejecting it not based on the science but based on their dislike or support of the current system.

And therein lies the real problem IMHO. As soon as one side or the other is pushed to defending their political position they reject anything the “other side” has to offer. This is why I would agree with keeping AGW out of the conversation if you want the majority of the country (which all polls show are much more on the conservative side of the fence) to accept PO. I have absolute faith that if you offer our populace the choice between drowning the lowlands in 50+ years vs. keeping BAU in this country you have lost the debate before it even started. Tie AGW, in any context, to PO and the majority of Americans instantly tune out IMHO. And my opinion has nothing to due with my belief in AGW (which I understood many years ago). If you want to be smart and right then throw AGW in with every PO discussion. You'll be right and proud of yourself. But you’ll have little to no chance of changing the attitudes of the majority of our population IMHO.

What would you think of policies that, in 20 years, vs. BAU

GDP +13%
CO2 -38%
Oil Use -22%
Employment +4%

AND solve the greatest national security threat this nation faces (not having enough oil to keep operating) ?

Something for everyone.


we could pass a simple carbon tax that would be hard to game or avoid,

Really? Hard to game?

I've posted the link to the 70% going to investment bankers, taxes, fees, et la where only 30% is for actual Carbon reduction many times before.

I do not have your faith in the 'hard to game' due to the Gamers having unfettered access to the rule makers.

hi Eric,

Allow me to amend that comment to "much harder and less profitable to game than cap and trade" if you don't mind. ;)

Agree with OFM that a simple carbon tax would be harder to game than a free-for-all carbon credit trading system with unlimited intermediaries, derivatives, etc.

So the tax is to play games with pricing to have people adjust behavior.

I get that.

The tax money - where is that going to go? Is this tax money going to infrastructure? Carbon sequestration? The debt?

How can that be answered? It'll go on what Congress decides to spend it on. My bet is to line the pockets of Congress and multi-nationals, unless we start trust-busting at the same time.

I would offset income taxes by an equal amount, but that is not my original idea.

My bet is to line the pockets of Congress and multi-nationals

Which then puts it right back into the realm of the con job. Using a problem as an excuse to extract tribute from the citizens all the time telling 'em it has to be done.
is my often repeated link showing the 70% waste in an attempt to manage the problem.

You have a good point about people's perception of issues we discuss here. Very often we are living in different worlds. So what about stating the ideas about global warming, peak oil, gravity and evolution in the same language:

First, a scientific theory can not be proven. There is only a preponderance of evidence, coherence, consistency and predictive value. Scientific theory can only be disproven.

Gravity is a theory. F=GMm/r^2. If I see, even once, an apple flying spontaneously upwards, gravity theory is dead. We'll need something better.

Evolution is a theory. When someone finds a metal arrow in dinosaur's head, evolution theory will be dead. We will need something better. (There is a methaphysical issue here that if God created the world 6448 years ago to make it look 20B years old, we have no way of experimentally discerning the two)

Peak Oil is a hypothesis. We have plenty of indications (actual observations plus variety of models) that supply is not increasing and there are few if any observations to the contrary. Not a theory yet, but preponderance of evidence is here. Nothing about demand. The mismatch between supply and demand is our human socioeconomic problem. Peak Oil hypothesis can be very strongly weakened by finding just one giant field capable of large production.

Global warming (AGW). Increased CO2 concentration is a fact, increased global temperature (anomaly as they call it) is a fact. Whichever way we look at the two facts, they are connected and 99% of people who try to connect the two facts, can do so only by one implicating the other. I.e. there is not a scientist who would say today "increase in CO2 levels leads to lower global temperature". It is not a theory yet in the strict sense, but a VERY well supported hypothesis.

There is not even a mention of faith, trust, belief, mentors, orientation, politics, economy here. The points above are non-negotiable. I am not personal, and do not mean to sound abrupt or adversarial, but the agreement on "scientific method" is an entry point to meaningful discussion at this forum.

There is not even a mention of faith, trust, belief, mentors, orientation, politics, economy here. The points above are non-negotiable. I am not personal, and do not mean to sound abrupt or adversarial, but the agreement on "scientific method" is an entry point to meaningful discussion at this forum.

Well said, now if we could all at least accept that much and move on, our discussions might be much more productive.

Back in the day when I was much younger and more foolish and I was more inclined to engage in testosterone induced competitiveness I became a scuba instructor, by my own assessment a very good one, I had been certified by a European agency and then traveled around the world and picked up certifications from many other agencies. Now there were endless political discussions amongst my peers about whose agency or school had a better handle on the methodology of instructions.

Then one day under the tutelage of a much wiser and older master instructor who was teaching an advanced specialty to which many different agencies had sent their better instructors the discussion amongst us once again turned to petty arguments about whose methodology was superior. Our Instructor had apparently had enough of our foolishness and asked a simple question. He wanted to know if the bubbles we were expelling into the water were branded with our agencies respective logos?

In other words there are times and places and certain endeavors that require a setting aside of politics and need to rise above the fray and join forces in order to achieve mutually beneficial results. That cannot be done from a frame work of politics alone and the only way that I know of to frame reality is through science. So if we can't accept that our political views are for all practical purposes worthless in these instances then we will never be able to work together to solve our problems.

Unfortunately The two party political system in the US has become a hindrance and a joke and the vast majority of our leaders and the populace at large seem to engage in magical wishful thinking with a huge dose of PC, steered by stupid greed and self interest.

Perhaps we need a campaign to brand hydrocarbon chains or CO2 molecules with donkey and elephant logos then we could all vote for our personal favorite...

Agree 100%. I'd toss on that the anti-religious tones offer affront as well. The goal should be to educate, not to argue every possible viewpoint.

I share OFM's view that political monikers have become hackneyed and overloaded to the point of losing meaning. We're all blends of belief systems, and the goal here should be to shift belief systems on oil and energy; not on climate, not on politics (well, except the energy platform aspects), nor abortion, or sexual orientation, and certainly not on religion.

We're all going to live here together as oil depletes. Might as well figure out how to get along with the neighbors.

We're all going to live here together as oil depletes. Might as well figure out how to get along with the neighbors.

No way.

I'm still cracking my poached egg open on the Little Endian side every morning.

Those Big Endians are morons.

Very well said Sharon...

Again, I think it is really easy from long familiarity with these issues not to get how *unfamiliar* and new they are to a lot of people - including people who really should know better, but observing that doesn't help any of us. For example, the questioner from the CATO institute stood up and asked a question that had already been answered by Dr. Patzek and Art Berman about the implications of deepwater discoveries. What that points out is the degree to which people need to hear very basic information conveyed credibly to them.

But of course . . . the libertarian was in shocked disbelief that "the market" wasn't magically taking care of us all with its invisible hand. Just like Greenspan was so shocked when the financial collapse occurred.

Now markets are indeed great things and have worked wonders for economics. But they certainly are not a panacea and they can make big mistakes. And one thing that markets cannot handle well is long-term planning. Markets simply do not look out 5, 10, or 20 years ahead. They look a quarter or two ahead. Maybe with some far-sighted management, they look a year or two ahead. But therein lies the problem . . . it takes 6 years or so to develop an oil field. Sure . . . markets are going to deal with peak oil, but just not in a way that we like . . . there will likely be a sharp disruption in the oil markets when it becomes clear that demand has exceeded supply and the oil needs to be rationed by price. Meanwhile, consumers are going to be saddled with SUV's and PU's that last for 10 to 20 years. Ouch.

in shocked disbelief that "the market" wasn't magically taking care of us

I too am shocked, shocked I say, that there is gambling going on in "the market" place.

I think the libertarians will have a difficult time with losing the grand free market, but they are going to gain their nirvana though. Small national government (if any at all when all is said and done) and a greater role for local decision making. Hopefully, this will result in the greater individual freedom they seek, but I'm a bit sceptical of that myself. I grew up in a small town and small town politics are vicious and you can get some small time tyrants that make life unbearable.

I thought everyone did a great job on this briefing! It was really good having some folks from the government sector talking about the issues, too. I don't remember seeing anything like this in the past.

And from the good attendance and Q & A session, it looked like it generated a lot of interest. I hope more of these can be done.

Thanks for everything ASPO did to help make it possible.

i agree totally

its the nearest you have been to the center of power... massively peripheral but keep heading in that direction.

you know who it is you need to arm twist.

best thing ever so far

Sharon, thank you for the calm, rational voice.

I want to make it clear that I have nothing but respect and admiration for the peak-oil folks who put this all together.

I think some of us fall into the Dmitry Orlov Camp (ignore the national politicians, they are a distraction...) and no longer have any confidence in our leaders. And no patience - we throw up our arms and give up on the possibility of getting competent leaders in place in time to make a coherent national effort at mitigation.

But after throwing up our hands and giving up on TPTB, we turn to local matters where we have the patience and the ability to do something constructive.

(PS thank you for your wonderful blog.)

Hi Sharon,

Thanks for a firsthand view.

re: "there are a substantial number of mitigatory strategies that could be enacted by governments even if they don't fix it - or at least we could get out of the habit of making it worse, say, give up the fantasy of building roads and runways withour remaining cash and start doing something to help protect people falling into poverty."

Yes, indeed.

That's the idea for asking Congress and/or *any* State legislature and/or *any* federal agency to direct the National Academy of Sciences to undertake an immediate investigation of global oil supply (decline), impacts of decline, and policy options.

Sooner the better.

Ben Bernanke and the Fed - Not peak oil aware or believer

Bernanke, in his speech today, is going to try to increase US inflation to 2% annually by adding additional stimulus. This stimulus will likely further lower the dollar and thus further increase oil prices. If he and the Fed thought peak oil was here or near this would make no sense. Peak oil will likely cause much higher oil prices - and a revival of inflation. Any thoughts on the Fed's beliefs on peak oil?

But perhaps inflation is his goal. How better to reduce the debt load than to inflate us out? And the politicians cannot to the wise thing of raising gas taxes . . . so perhaps he will raise the price of gasoline by another means.

Nah . . . Bernanke is just well-known for his study of the great depression. And the big conclusion he drew from it was that it was made much worse by a lack of money. So he is continuing to flood the market with money in hopes of correcting things. Peak oil is probably not on his radar at all.

I agree Bernanke seems blind to Peak Oil. This is puzzling to me as Bernanke and the Fed seem to look at all angles. Bernanke stated inflation goal is 2% per year, but Peak Oil will likely cause much higher inflation than that.

I also agree on the wisdom of a much higher gasoline tax to encourage conservation, etc. Perhaps it could be sold if other taxes were reduced. I believe Europe is far ahead of the US on this - with gasoline being priced at 7$/gallon in some countries. No wonder SUV's are rare in Europe.

Brad, I don't think PO is going to cause inflation. It will cause hardship, and economic and social distress for sure. More than anything, though, it will suck money out of the system, as it does today, and may create deflation.

Why do you think the insane infusion of money to date has not caused hyperinflation already?


Peak Oil means that oil production will be declining - so that oil consumers will have to bid up the price of oil enough to destroy enough demand so that supply equals demand. At least initially oil prices should skyrocket. In the past, after the oil price spike has come severe recession and thus a declining demand for oil. This time around, however, that declining demand for oil will occur at the same time oil production is declining thanks to peak oil. This time around I would doubt that oil prices will stage the huge decline that occurred after oil spiked up to over $150/barrel.

Oil supply is going to be a diminishing resource. Oil demand, thanks to economic growth and thanks to China and India, is going to continue to grow. Something has to give. Enough demand must be destroyed until supply = demand. Higher prices will be rationing agent. Higher oil prices will finally rid America of the wasteful SUV's and jump-start electric vehicles, natural gas vehicles, and energy conservation.

Re: infusion of money and hyperinflation. It hasn't happened because of the continued high unemployment and the anemic economic growth. Also, the bursting of the housing bubble is a factor.

High price of a single commodity will not create inflation. Otherwise we would have seen it in 2007-2008 as oil prices shot up.

No... even though the Fed would love to see it, inflation is not happening, and the high unemployement and amenic growth are a consequence of the continued high price of oil. No one has money for consumption when so much is being syphoned off into the oil drain. Oil and spending produce very few jobs per Million USD.


This has been an insightful chain of posts. As peak Oil causes higher unemployment and very depressed economic activity, you can add all the money you want, the excess doesn't circulate so you don't get inflation... interesting...

I think we could get both - deflation at home, combined with a currency collapse that leads to hyperinflated import costs.

Bernanke is right, but he is also wrong at the same time.

Bernanke believes that he can prevent deflation, as we are in a fiat money regime, and he can in theory print trillions of dollars (or tap the keyboard, as it were).

He is absolutely right. He can, and will, prevent deflation this way.

But where he is wrong is his interpretation that this is fundamentally a good thing, that it will lead to stability in prices or employment or any of that.

It will not! It is central planning of the worst kind. It prevents normal, corrective processes to take place in the economy.

Take housing: if the price of a house collapses from $500,000 to $200,000, that may be painful for some people, what? Does Bernanke, or anybody else for that matter, know what the true price of that home is? How about $1,000,000? $10,000,000? Where do you draw the line?

Ultimately the market is the arbiter of prices. And by centralling planning the economy from the Fed, Bernanke is messing with the market, in effect becoming the market...and that never, ever, ever, ever works!
It's never worked pre peak, it won't work post peak.

And I'm no free market fundamentalist. But I know enough about humanity, and history, to realize without any doubt that no man or group of men has enough information, or intelligence, to control prices.

You have to let the chips fall where they may.

Yes, you do want the prices of some things that have risen too fast to come back down. But you don't want generalized deflation. With deflation, everyone can take the attitude of "I'm not going to by because it will cost less next month." And when you can fill in anything for , the economy seizes up because no one is buying anything. It creates a downward spiral. It will stop eventually but in the meantime the economy falls apart because people need to get fired since products are not being bought.

Bernanke is playing with a "nuclear reactor" type economy. Once inflation kicks in there will be a complete unstoppable melt down!

Bernanke is playing with a "nuclear reactor" type economy.

Uninsurable by people who understand risk and supported by fools?

The EESI website has an MP3 Of the presentations. Here is a direct link to the MP3:


No talk about things that can make a significant difference in 6 to 12 years.

Such as:

- Electrify main lines of RRs (as quickly as 6 years) and busy branch lines.

- VERY aggressively promote and facilitate transportation bicycling

- Build out Urban Rail a bit quicker than the French (adjusted fro population).

All of the above are 1+ million b/day oil savings.

Best Hopes for not overlooking our best options,


Yours is the best post today, Alan. Of course, I agree with the need for rail... and electrification of all. And, urban light rail as the best mass transit option (electification of buses - San Francisco has several lines already) won't hurt either. And, a new energy infrastructure for production and transportation of the energy needed for that.

Best Hopes that 1 MBPD is enough savings...


Each of the three listed has the potential of 1 or more million b/day savings in a dozen years.

If we pursued all 3 with the vigor and investment of boiling tar out of sand, I could see over 5 million b/day saved by October 16, 2022.

Best Hopes for Trying,


Amen, Alan. Amen!


Perhaps this was because the goal was simply to expose the problem, without suggesting solutions?

I find it sad, yet predictably so, that we're early in the education phase of problem recognition, when reality suggests we need to be heavy into mitigation.

So far, we appear to be running headlong into the wall. Makes you wonder what the gov't people think about China's massive investments in solar and wind, and oil reserves, and agri land.

It's gonna be an interesting decade.....

Hi Alan,

Good examples. Things that can make a difference...

...also, can be gathered by the National Academy of Sciences under the "policy options" section of the proposed study:

Thus, the one body responsible for providing objective advice to the Nation on matters of scientific import could weigh in. Also, they could provide on-going advice as the crises worsens.

Mining the Beaufort Sea

We must consider The Importance of Methane Hydrate to the Nation.

Ensuring reliable sources of natural gas is of significant strategic interest to the United States... Natural gas is the cleanest of all the fossil fuels, emitting from 25 to 50 percent less carbon dioxide than either oil or coal for each unit of energy produced. In recent years, natural gas has supplied approximately 20-25 percent of all energy consumed in the United States.

Accumulations of methane hydrate, a solid form of natural gas, may represent an enormous source of methane [See the Figure below]... Although the estimated total global volume of methane in methane hydrate is still debated, generally acknowledged estimates yield figures between 2 and 10 times greater than those of technically recoverable conventional natural gas resources. The existence of such a large and as-yet untapped methane hydrate resource has provided a strong global research incentive to determine how methane from methane hydrate might be produced as a technically safe, environmentally compatible, and economically competitive energy resource.

Although methane is a cleaner-burning energy source than other fossil fuels, it is itself a significant greenhouse gas, about 25 times more potent per molecule than carbon dioxide on a 100-year basis. Thus, understanding the potential environmental impacts of uncontrolled methane hydrate degassing and the seafloor hazard (“geohazard”) potential resulting from methane hydrate dissociation through global warming connected natural processes are important as its potential for commercial production is considered and tested.

Furthermore, methane is an ideal feed stock for liquid fuel production. This vast methane resource can be turned to mitigate peak oil.

Milford Sound in New Zealand

The Beaufort Sea

Basin countries Canada, United States

Surface area........476,000 km2 (184,000 sq mi)
Average depth.......1,004 m (3,294 ft)
Max depth...........4,683 m (15,364 ft}

The methane hydrate resource “pyramid” concept qualitatively appraises the distribution of the global methane hydrate resource by the size and type of the occurrence (deposit) and evaluates which of those hold the greatest economic potential for development. Resources near the top of the pyramid (Arctic and marine sands) are of higher reservoir quality and estimated percentage of recoverable resource, although they represent a smaller in-place resource volume than reservoirs at the bottom of the pyramid that represent fine-grained sediments (silts, shales, and muds).

Before global warming releases the methane in The Arctic Shelf in those shallow sediments off the Alaskan North Slope at Hammerhead, Thetis Island and Halkett, nuclear power can convert that gas resource into alternative liquid fuels using high temperature steam reforming and other gas to liquids (GTL) technologies. These Methane-rich gases can be converted into liquid longer-chain synthetic fuel hydrocarbons such as gasoline or diesel fuel either via direct conversion or via syngas as an intermediate, for example using the Fischer Tropsch or Mobil processes.

In order to do this, a system comprised of both a nuclear powered submarine and a nuclear powered refinery ship is required.

The submarine can generate heated water in vast amounts and can direct that water into the sediment layer at high pressure to excavate the methane.

The submarine can be controlled remotely by the surface ship and stay below the surface indefinitely. The surface ship can coordinate the movement of the submarine to precisely match the course of the surface ship. The nuclear powered surface refinery ship is also independent and can stay on station indefinitely.

Controlled by the surface ship via interconnecting signal transmission cables, the nuclear powered submarine can systematically moves just above the button of the sediment layer to free methane-hydrate using a stream of heated water that vaporizes the methane-hydrate into a gas at a ratio of 164 to 1. The gas and hot water rise with force to inflate a large gas collection canopy that is tethered to the submarine. This canopy is configured to capture and separate the gas from the water and loosened sediment. The canopy is suspended over the submarine like a parachute by the force of the rising warm water and gas.

The gas is sent to the refinery ship on the ocean surface via a flexible pipeline. This ship uses high temperature nuclear heat to convert the methane into liquid fuel. This fuel is stored in internal storage tanks until full. They are then off loaded on a periodic basis to a tanker for transport to market.

As a consequence of methane dredging, increased sediment upwelling will increase the biologic productivity of the Arctic Shelf biosphere in general by increasing the availability of nutrients to phytoplankton in that region.

I have heard many discussions about mining MH deposits, but no one seems to have a method. We can hope this problem will be solved, and that they will be available for use. OTOH, this is another way to create huge CO2 releases (burning methyl hydrates will solve one problem and aggravate another).

I agree that it should be pursued though, as a short term way to bridge to sustainability.


Just apply hot water to the undersea sediment and the methane hydrate will be released. Nuclear submarines have been around for a long time now. Just redirect its heat output toward the sea bed.

You do not have to do that much even. That is the problem. Release is not the same as capture. As I understand it the problem is collecting it, and that when the deposits are disturbed they tend to release too fast and cannot be controlled.

If someone has a process that will enable mining of this resource, they are the new kings of energy.


It seems to me that gas control is really a function of the volume of the collecting canopy; the larger the canopy volume, the smaller the probability of the gas escaping. If the canopy is stationed at depth, then the deep ocean pressure will keep the methane volume compressed and small. In this way, a large collection canopy can store a very large amount of this compressed gas.

It’s the same principle as a reservoir behind a dam or an oil tank farm.

Overflow excess gas can also be stored in submerged floating storage bags. Methane hydrate collection is an exercise in underwater gas storage. When the refinery ship processes the methane into liquid fuel, it gradually reduces the volume of the methane stored in the underwater storage farm in an analogy to a land based refinery. When more gas is required more hot water is applied to the sediment.

The key is to convert the gas to liquid fuel so that gas volumes are gradually reduced.

It also seems to me that this type of technology is far easier to implement and potentially more profitable than shale oil extraction or coal to liquids.

aus - Interesting discourse. Just one minor qualification:"generally acknowledged estimates yield figures between 2 and 10 times greater than those of technically recoverable conventional natural gas resources." It is generally acknowledged that the amount of technically recoverable NG from the hydrates today is exactly ZERO. Of course, that could change in the future. But even once the technically recoverable hurdle is jumped they'll have to come up with a commercially viable methodology. I'm sure you'll alert us when the first commercial recovery occurs. Until then I'll keep my estimate of energy from the hydates the same as we'll get from cold fusion. Would be great to see either developed. But, IMHO, until then it probably best to focus on currently available possibilities

It is generally acknowledged that the amount of technically recoverable NG from the hydrates today is exactly ZERO.

Need to catch up on your literature reviews Rock.

By your definition, that is technically an assessment and so it carries no weight at all.

So now, in a burst of sarcasm, you are going to pretend, or demonstrate, that you don't know what an assessment is?

You know, mixing this sarcasm thing in with your natural desire to not know anything about a topic is making it difficult to determine the exact magnitude of the topics you are thoroughly clueless about. Sometimes I think, "nearly all" is the right answer, other times, "only the important ones".

Bureaucrats hide behind definitions so they can't be held accountable. I am just pointing out the games your people play.

I once had a discussion with RockyMtGuy about how these same bureaucrats are not held accountable...except for the ones who are forced to retire, fired, etc etc, which he was pretty well aware of, but his statement wouldn't have been as dramatic if he had to admit from the beginning that it wasn't actually true.

Now you are doing the same thing, except maybe without even knowing you are wrong. Being "fired" is usually part of "accountability", which happens when what these people do comes off the rails.

You are just unhappy that you don't have any credible information to dispute it. Write a letter to your congressman, tell them how unfair it is they actually make their estimates from the geology rather than assembling them from a statistical study of fish in the ocean, see how that works for you.

Did you actually read that literature? First of all it shows that only about 15% of the MH is technically recoverable. It goes on to relate that no well has ever actually penetrated any deposits predicted, and that it was all speculative. In short, pie in the sky in the great bye and bye.

Also, it only describes as technically recoverable MH that is buried and on land, not the oceanic deposits that make up by far the greatest deposits. And, they make up the most dangerous since warming of oceans by AGW could well set them off. Or not. If it does, then the game is over. Do you really want to make that bet?

BAU is just not worth that risk. Sorry.


In short, pie in the sky in the great bye and bye.

Once upon a was Ghawar.

You don't have to accept anyones quantification of earthly resources of course, but think how it looked when iron ore was being depleted and the Eiffel tower was supposed to be the last big steel structure built.

Compared to solving THAT "running out" issue, hydrates are kids stuff!

So IOW Rockman was correct and Zaphod's points stand.

And now you want to pretend that harvesting hydrates commercially is technologically comparable to finding more iron ore in the late 1800's ???

... nearly all, or just the important ones... hmmm

I love the wording:

... the USGS estimates that there are about 85 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of undiscovered, technically recoverable gas resources within gas hydrates in northern Alaska.

I would say there is a lot of reading between the lines necessary to parse that statement. You can only estimate "undiscovered" gas if you have a model or an analysis. If you physically discover it, then its no longer undiscoverable. Portions could be discovered and you can invoke reserve growth to get the rest, but that would again require a model.

Reserve - Sorry...that doesn't float. The USGS saying these reserves are technically recoverable doesn't, in fact, make them technically recoverable. Their own words: "The USGS conventional assessment approach also assumes that the hydrocarbon resource being assessed can be produced by existing conventional technology. Although verified by only limited field testing, numerical production models of gas hydrate-bearing reservoirs overlying the Milne Point and Prudhoe Bay oil fields suggest that gas can be produced from gas hydrate with existing conventional technology."

Sorry but it's all BS IMHO. When you have an example of someone actually recovering a meaningful volume of NG from the hydrates let me know. ASSUMPTIONS and limited field testing SUGGESTING (as opposed to PROVING) recovery proves nothing. And then when you do have an example of someone able to recover this NG then we can talk about the next step: commercially recoverable NG reserves. IMHO we're so far from that they we're just wasting broad band discussing it now.

Reserve - Sorry...that doesn't float.

Sorry Rock. You said this wasn't done. I just provided the example showing how it certainly has been done. I didn't say you would LIKE it.

The USGS saying these reserves are technically recoverable doesn't, in fact, make them technically recoverable.

The provided reference didn't say anything about reserves. It said "technically recoverable" which was the same thing you said didn't exist. I was just pointing out it does.

Sorry but it's all BS IMHO. When you have an example of someone actually recovering a meaningful volume of NG from the hydrates let me know.

Reference already provided in another thread.

Grover, Et Al, 2008, Analysis of Reservoir Performance of Messoyakha Gas Hydrate Reservoir, SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, Denver, Co.

Holditch was one of the et al by the way. The gas field was actually partially refilled by hydrates which had been depressurized and gone into a gaseous state when the gasfield pressure was reduced far enough.

Come on Rock, get out to a conference! I'll meet you in Houston for lunch during AAPG next spring, the SPE gang gets to work on all sorts of these things. Who do you think will eventually find some of the better means of producing these hydrates, GEOLOGISTS?

reserve - Thanks for proving my point: "Who do you think will EVENTUALLY find some of the better means of producing these hydrates". Exactly. I didn't think I had to explain that by technically recoverable it meant at a commercial level. Anyone can go out and dig up a chunk of hydrate and fill a bottle with NG. If that's you're definition of technically recoverable than you win the debate.

I'll repeat myself: when you have an example of someone who has developed a PROVEN method for recovering a commercial volume of NG let me know. Until them all you seem to offer is possibilities. That's fine...never want to discourage optimism. But assuming you can do something is a far cry from HAVING PROVED you can do it. So offer the proof that someone has recovered a commercial volume of NG directly from a hydrate deposit. Producing enough to win a DOE grant just doesn't do it for me. I hope you can...really. That would be worth discussing in detail.

During my 35 years I’ve sat and listened to many a well intentioned explorationist talk about what COULD be. They are welcome to their opinions. But I don’t really have to time to worry about them. I’m fairly occupied trying to produce what we know how to produce today. I’ll let the younger generation produce all the hydrates they like…once they figure out how to do it commercially. Best wishes for their success.

reserve - Thanks for proving my point: "Who do you think will EVENTUALLY find some of the better means of producing these hydrates". Exactly. I didn't think I had to explain that by technically recoverable it meant at a commercial level.

What point? First you said there was no technically recoverable. I provided an example of technically recoverable. Then you said they hadn't been produced. And I provided an example of actual production. Read what technically recoverable does not require the economics of being commercial. They just ARE...and can be recovered. Some at a higher price, some accidentally at a lower price. But technically recoverable doesn't have the economic filter sitting on top of it in the report referenced.

During my 35 years I’ve sat and listened to many a well intentioned explorationist talk about what COULD be. They are welcome to their opinions. But I don’t really have to time to worry about them.

And I've sat and listened for 30 years to geologists pretend to understand which way the play went, when us engineers then drilled and it turned out that the play wasn't nearly as structure dependent as you guys said. You are welcome to your opinions, but if you want to pretend there aren't technically recoverable estimates of hydrates, you should check first. If you think they haven't been produced yet, you should ask us engineers who have produced them. Its not like we don't give presentations at our national conferences so you guys can show up and learn some of these things. Not that I fault you for not staying up to speed of course, AAPG conferences can be as much a drag for us petroleum engineers as the SPE national must be for you guys.

Invent, develop, and capitalize a high-cost process to harvest hydrates stranded thousands of miles from market when gas is $4/mcf? Are you nuts?

Of course not.It has been quite evident that other unconventional gas resources can swing the price far enough to make sure it is not necessary. Today.

Isn't that always the problem? Perspective?

Can you even IMAGINE springboarding in the Ghawar discovery well?

I'm a fair student of history. Exactly 100 years ago Churchill took the plunge and switched the Royal Navy new build battleship design from coal to oil fuel, which required funding an enormous supply and storage infrastructure based on imported oil from Persia (the birth of BP). Liquid fuel was the objective in German conquest of Romania and Japanese conquest of Dutch East Indies in WWII, long before the wildcat discovery of Ghawar in 1948. At the time USA was an oil exporter, and Ghawar was a US concession. No technical leap. Nothing novel about drilling for oil.

Gas is cheap today because no one needs it in superabundance, not even China, which means megaprojects like Gorgon and Tupi are probably going to fail as commercial ventures. Domestically we have ample supply from conventional gas wells in the Gulf, Canada, and unprofitable shale. The Europeans are unhappy about relying on Russia but there's no question that Russia has enormous gas reserves, all of it conventional.

Gas is no problem. Liquid fuel is the problem, and no amount of high cost EOR or GTL is going to fix it. Gas hydrates are an irrelevant pipedream, similar to the alleged cornucopia of Bakken Shale and Arctic oil, concocted by idle bureaucrats at USGS who don't have to go to the capital markets - ever - or put their careers on the line - ever - by picking a drilling location and learning something about actual real life no bullshit E&P.

I'm not trying to offend anyone. Peak oil is a bigger problem than anyone at the majors is willing to talk about publically, and that's why briefing Congress goes nowhere and does nothing.

Rembrandt's production charts tell the whole story. I see it every time we do another project. Tens of millions - sometimes hundreds of millions of dollars - wasted on some knucklehead's fantasy of areal extent that doesn't exist in reality. Nothing wrong with the drilling crew. Just bad G&G, blown up like a hot air balloon in Petrel.


The problem is liquid petroleum, not "alternatives."

The problem is liquid petroleum, not "alternatives."

It is fortunate then that natural gas can be turned into syncrude. Much like unconventional production and drag racing (speed costs fast do you want to go?), the problem doesn't revolve around lack of a resource, only the price people must pay to convince others to retrieve it for them.

I'm a fair student of history. long before the wildcat discovery of Ghawar in 1948. At the time USA was an oil exporter, and Ghawar was a US concession. No technical leap. Nothing novel about drilling for oil.

You aren't the only student of history. For the record, the primary innovation which made Ghawar possible was ushered in in 1901. And the clue I offered was "springboard".

I did not mean "springboard" as in leap forward, I meant springboard as in once upon a time modern drilling technology. Texans sometimes think that the world began on that January day in 1901 when in reality it was just the change of technology making it possible for humans to reach down through certain rock types, into depths and areas they hadn't been able to reach previously. The age of easy oil was already drawing to a close. In 1901. Ghawar wasn't in the "easy oil" age, it was in the "harder" oil age.

I would recommend "Oil on Their Shoes: Petroleum Geology to 1918", they have some great old photos from the "easy" oilfields.

That's technology acceleration which is a primary component of the dispersive discovery model.

Yes, we know. That and fairy dust and Santa Claus and whatever else comes up, we know, its all in there. I'm still waiting for the prediction of tomorrows DJIA based on the differential seashell density between the Atlantic Ocean beaches and Pacific Ocean beaches.

Actually the dispersive discovery model is pretty simple and the crowning achievement is that it can derive the logistic sigmoid shape of the classic Hubbert peak oil curve.

BTW, I ack the sarc just so you realize it ain't going over my head.

IMHO we're so far from that they we're just wasting broad band discussing it now.

Tell you what, instead of AAPG, lets you and me head out to an SPE National next year? Thats where the REAL action is (the kind the geologists apparently haven't even heard of yet) and we'll have lunch there instead? AAPG is in Houston next spring, who the hell wants to go there? 2011 SPE is in Denver, I'll give you a tour of the town, we'll tell drilling stories, you can learn about the latest in hydrate production, maybe I can track down Steve, he's usually at these things, we'll get you a first class reservoir engineering group to ask questions of, iron out a little of these details they don't tell geologists about? It'll be a blast!

RGR2, why don't you put together a guest post.

Lay it all out from your point of view and invite "Steve" etc to contribute.

It has been offered previously. I have been forced to decline. The conditions of my employment would require a level of effort equivalent to getting an article in Natural Resources Research. Once the level of effort required is that high, why would I just release it as a blog post?

Too busy, or "insufficient data" (I hardly believe a post on TOD would require the same effort as an article in NRR - have you ever actually published any research ?)???

Well hopefully you will stop back and let us know when commercial development has started somewhere, anywhere, and the rate of expected production for 2010 and beyond.

Too busy, or "insufficient data" (I hardly believe a post on TOD would require the same effort as an article in NRR

The difficulty does not lie with TOD or NRR but the requirements of my employment.

have you ever actually published any research ?)???

Sure. Doesn't everyone?

RGR, you understand the point:

Methane Hydrates might be a wonderful source of energy for someone, somewhere, in the future.

But Methane Hydrates are "pie in the sky" for now.

So for now Hydrates will go back into the bottom of the deck, just below nuclear fusion.

(also, we know, that you know, your fly is open - zip up. Wait until your poster session to stroke yourself in public ;)

(also, we know, that you know, your fly is open - zip up. Wait until your poster session to stroke yourself in public ;)


Wouldn't you also have say that about many of Webhubble's posts, such as:
" There is a huge hole in understanding and I am the guy that is filling it. " (just a recent example from 'Congressional Briefing: Can Oil Production Meet Rising Demand?' )?

Who's really doing the most self stroking around here?

Thanks for noticing. I do have many of the answers. I realize it is hard for you to come to grips with.

I asked for one months ago and you told me your method of predicting everything based on knowing nothing didn't work that way.

I guess we are talking about methane hydrates in this thread. If I gave it some thought, who knows if I could contribute something?

In actuality I was just responding to something said about me.

Methane Hydrates might be a wonderful source of energy for someone, somewhere, in the future.

Of course. Sure. But look at the language used around here. "Can't be produced", "No technology to produce it", "there is no technically recoverable".

I often use the phrase, "The answer to the equation 2+2 is not dependent on the volume level of the answer nor its popularity", and this is a perfect example.

I never said its going to be turned into a trillion barrels of oil equivalents tomorrow afternoon, but the instant someone points out that the dogma on hydrates is wrong, thats the strawman assigned to them by implication. No one is required to LIKE hydrates, but they certainly cannot be ignored as a resource. And certainly I never sit quietly when reality contradicts any particular dogma.

We'll keep an eye on Japan over the next few years. They seem the most desperate.

I think Robert Hirsch's slide made that pretty clear -- he's not a retired oil geologist.

Rock, I think you are dissing hydrates a bit too much. Wasn't that long ago that if someone suggested "actually recovering a meaningful volume" of oil from 10,000 ft of water, most people would have thought them crazy. You are correct that hydrate production isn't here yet, and is still unproven, but I don't see it as that farfetched, at least from certain situations.

It could happen sooner than you think. My issue is with how much from how many areas can be produced? The N Slope looks promising, but it may be a special case, and that won't be enough. The real question is can we do it in any kind of helpful time frame from deep water?

I'll be off line most of today. I will be interested to tune in later and see what other discussion there is on this topic.


Please put together a guest post on Methane Hydrates.

Put forward the technical considerations, any estimates for when production could be commercially viable and at what rates.

But then please also consider the real world limits of available capital, geopolitics and environmental/safety considerations. The best guess true costs.

A best-case scenario in a perfect world, vs a best-case scenario in the real world.
In a bid to shore up its precarious energy security, Japan is to start commercial test drilling for controversial frozen methane gas along its coast next year.

The gas is methane hydrate, a sherbet-like substance consisting of methane trapped in water ice—sometimes called "fire ice" or MH—that is locked deep underwater or under permafrost by the cold and under pressure 23 times that of normal atmosphere.

A consortium led by the Japanese government and the Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (Jogmec) will be sinking several wells off the southeastern coast of Japan to assess the commercial viability of extracting gas from frozen methane deep beneath local waters. Surveys suggest Japan has enough methane hydrate for 100 years at the current rate of usage.

Lying hundreds of meters below the sea and deeper still below sediments, fire ice is exceedingly difficult to extract. Japan is claiming successful tests using a method that gently depressurizes the frozen gas.

Tokyo plans to start commercial output of methane hydrates by 2018. At present, Japan imports nearly all its gas—about 58.6 million tons of liquified gas annually—and is heavily dependent on oil imports.

Lucia van Geuns, an energy analyst at the international energy program of the Clingendael Institute, said: "Methane hydrates could make Japan energy independent. Japan put a lot of R&D into this project because of course the less energy it imports the better.

"If it does succeed it will have a huge impact—equivalent to the use of gas shales in the U.S."

P.S. The gas within the Arctic Shelf is far easier to exploit than those deposits near Japan.

Hydrates are a bit out of my line, but I have seen several local presentations by Bob Hunter and Tim Collett (two of the guys involved in the N Slope hydrate tests). For an extensive list of links and references go to:
NETL: Methane Hydrates
I found the 2009 "BPXA Status Meeting Presentations" links to have a lot of technical detail and are interestig.

I guess at the moment, not being deeply in to this stuff, I'm somewhere between Rockman and Reservegrowth on this one. The big potential advantages of the N Slope hydrates seem to be that:

1. They are onshore
2. Under existing infrastructure (drill rigs, pads, roads, etc)
3. Occur at least partially in sandstones rather than mudrocks (higher P & P)
4. Are thicker than many sub sea hydrates
5. In some cases already have a free gas phase at the down dip edge
6. If a N Slope gasline ever gets built (still a BIG IF at this point) they would be at or near the beginning of the pipeline.
7. Tests indicate that depresurization might work
8. Are mappable and predictable (thickness, extent) with seismic, the predictions verified by drilling

All of this makes it more plausible (to me at least) that hydrates could actually be a viable resource. The problems (there are many) seem more tractable than for oil shale.

Obviously the N Slope hydrates aren't going to save the world all by themselves. Other sources will be needed, but regarding hydrates in deep water, I have no idea about their viability.

For one thing, with GTL a gas pipeline is not necessary.

But there are more drivers for chemical conversion of natural gas using GTL:

• Need for economic utilization of associated gas

• Desire to monetize significant reserves of non-associated and, particularly, stranded natural gas - 80% of the 5,000 TCF proven NG reserves are stranded

• Reduction in cost of transport of NG from producing to consuming regions (same principle as with LNG)

• Environmental concerns - the development of clean fuels regulations throughout the world (gasoline, diesel, fuel oils)

BP has a proprietary technology called Autothermal Reforming Process (ATR Process) that provides high efficiency gas partial oxidation

CH4 + 1/2O2 -> CO + 2 H2 DHRx = -8.5 kcal/mol

This autothermal reforming is a combination of partial oxidation and steam reforming. Methane is partially combusted and then reformed. Combustion drives reforming reaction, so no heat needs to be added.

70% of the carbon finds its way into the final product in the pilot plant but it will go to 80% in the production plant. The process now has a thermal efficiency of 90%.

In steam reforming, 50% of the cost of the GTL plant comes from the reformer. Such a plant is very big.

In contrast and most importantly, the BP ATR process is compact and can be deployed in remote sites and on ships. Using this process, liquid fuel can be manufactured on the North Slope and sent by ship to markets in Asia.

80% of the 5,000 TCF proven NG reserves are stranded

Such numbers can only include Iran & Qatar.

Iran imports & exports NG, a net importer last time I looked. This despite MASSIVE NG reserves (hard to develop with sanctions).

Within easy pipeline distance (less than Louisiana to Atlanta in most cases) of the "stranded" NG of Qatar & Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (also Bahrain & Oman ?) are burning oil for summer electrical demand because of a lack of domestic NG. A shortfall that is scheduled to increase significantly.

Add the Nabucco (sp?) pipeline to the EU and "stranded" appears to be overstated.


PS: And a NG pipeline from Nigeria to Spain is technically doable and economically viable in a more stable environment.

Robert Hirsch's slide contains oil companies and this bullet:

Many retired oil geologists

Is this a case of getting religion when your salary is not on the line?
To me its the equivalent of having global warming believers consisting of only retired climate scientists.


I like a homespun and ancient hueristic that seems to serve well enough as an explaination;it is referred to going along to get along.

I expect you can probably figure out a way to model and quantify it. ;)

I believe it simply means that retired petrogeologists don't feel muzzled in any way.

Many retired oil geologists

Is this a case of getting religion when your salary is not on the line?

It's more a matter of no longer working for a company that might fire you if you said what you have been thinking for the last 30 years. (i.e. "Damn! There ain't no more big oil fields to find out there!")

PRECISELY! And that is exactly the type of information that both the Corporations and "The Government" don't want to get too far...

The late L. F. Buz Ivanhoe was retired and financially secure. That is why he was able to fund the Hubbert Center Newsletter and devote the declining years of his life to studying and writing about peak oil. Colin Campbell, Jean Laherrere and some of his other friends were also retired oilmen. I believe that their efforts laid the groundwork for both TOD and ASPO.

Jeff Rubin left CIBC (a Canadian Bank) because of incompatibility between his and bank's message. Incidentally, CIBC is listed quite often as a proponent of Peak Oil.

I am very disappointed that this opportunity wasn't used to give some hard data, and some relative sense of the figures shown, and to bring in exports. Using the last several years actual all liquids production and exports, the known rates of decline in the present production base, and the total new production that can be brought on stream in the next few years based on Megaprojects data, it is clear that liquid fuels are going into decline, probably in less than 3 years, and that can't be changed. The new supply requirements should be expressed as X Saudi Arabias so people really understand what those nice optimistic graphs mean.
Good comments Goodmaj. Using climate change as a reason to do something energy wise is just going to ensure right wing opposition. There is a pretty good chance of getting them to buy into peak oil, although that hasn't happened yet. I am an AGW denier so I sepnd some time at "wattsupwiththat", and most of the contributors are very far right, including more than a few "wingnuts", and generally they don't believe in peak oil, but they back down pretty quickly when presented with hard data.
I am always struck that smart people here can't get past the CO2 nonsense, and smart people at wattsupwiththat can't see peak oil.
In the past I have been happy to use the AGW argument, because anything we do to address that (non)issue will help energy. Now I am not so sure due to Republican intransigence. We are probably better to just make a clean peak oil argument.

There is no technology to recover methane hydrates, and good reasons to think there never will be. If technology is developed it won't result in significant supply in less than 20-30 years. It won't help with peak oil.

There is no technology to recover methane hydrates, and good reasons to think there never will be. If technology is developed it won't result in significant supply in less than 20-30 years. It won't help with peak oil

Is your assertion just some wishful thinking or is it based on some research or document that you can share?

aus - I'm not really trying to pick a fight with you but isn't the important question: "based on some research or document that you can share" is there some support for any claim that hydrates offer a current solution? A honest question: I don't follow research into NG from hydrates so if you have specific examples of any commercially viable techniques recently developed I think all of TOD would be very interested in hearing about it. I doubt few on TOD would argue there aren't huge volumes of NG trapped in hydrates. But we all know there are billions of bbls of oil trapped in the western oil shales. Likewise few see much of that oil economicly recoverable any time soon...if ever. From my limited view the hydrates fall into the same category.

See my 7:33pm post above.


In the spring of 2008, a joint Canadian-Japanese expedition in Mallik in the Northwest Territories, Canada, established that methane hydrates could be harvested by using a water pump to depressurize a well already drilled into the reserve. This involved lowering the pressure by pumping out the water that naturally accumulates in the well. Crucially, it required only 10 to 15 percent of the energy represented by the gas that flowed out of the well, making it a much more viable approach than earlier methods used to harvest hydrates, which involved melting them with warm water. Standard oil and gas drilling equipment was used to reenter an old well drilled to a depth of 3,500 feet and then "refurbish" it by casing the entire well with lengths of steel tubing that cemented into place in order to prevent it from collapsing.

Hydrates require both cold temperatures and high pressure to form; eliminating either condition frees the gas from its icy cage, but past attempts to do this by heating the hydrates proved prohibitively difficult. The Canadian-Japanese expedition successfully produced up to 4,000 cubic meters of gas a day during a six-day trial in 2008 using depressurization.

"I think [the Gulf of Mexico find] and Mallik are two revolutionary events," says Timothy Collett, a geologist with the USGS and one of the world's foremost authorities on gas hydrates.

aus - Thanks for that info. had not heard about that effort. But again, the debate isn't about the ability to produce NG from a hydrate. The question is a commercially viable approach to doing so. Over 30 years ago it was readily proven we could recover oil from the western oil shales. They even developed a pilot field in Colorado to prove it. Yet 30 years later there is still no proven method to do so commercially. Shell Oil is trying but they even admit they won't even try a pilot project until 2014...just not a high priority to them. Maybe in 30 or 40 years some clever engineer will develop a method to harvest hydrates commercially. I'm sure we'll desperately need it by then. But that will be then. My focus is on what is possible today or at least in the near future.

My focus is on what is possible today or at least in the near future.

And this is completely reasonable, and as it should be. My perspective is not limited by todays drilling, tomorrows completion, next years financing or the year after thats potential project.

Someone has to do todays drilling, and someone else has to think about the latter parts of this centuries natural gas production, domestic or international. We all have our parts to play, best of luck with your drilling, if history is any indicator I'll be presenting at AAPG in Houston in April.

You mean, "except for the fields which did it accidentally for awhile before anyone even noticed"?

Grover,T. el al, 2008, Analysis of Reservoir Performance of Messoyakha Gas Hydrate Reservoir, SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibit, Denver, Co.

You guys really need to get out more, see some conferences, learn something prior to making stuff up.

These hydrates were so hard to produce they did it by accident.

Well perhaps you should take that paper down to some investors and start a new company for harvesting methane hydrates? You make it sound so easy. Surely you'll make millions. Good luck with that.

The key profit center technology is compact GTL conversion. Now, most gas around the world is flared. What a waste.

Those interested might buy some Davy stock.

Its all in the perspective. Lets not forget, Ghawar was once unconventional, too deep to drill, no infrastructure, and it was not "easy" oil. The march of time...and presto....

Having this perspective, and knowing that hydrates are so difficult to produce that it can be done by accident, simply means that writing them off is not only premature but unreasonable.

"These hydrates were so hard to produce they did it by accident."

Well that is inspiring considering the possible ramifications of accidental MH releases right after the GOM spill...

Bumbling naked apes poke stick in hole where they "shoulda notta done that" - oh-oh... - news @ 11.

"Methane hydrates look so tantalizing, I'd gotta try it," said Industrialus infantus-the-crack-whore when he noticed he was out of rocks.

The hydrate hallucinations related to the Deepwater Discovery leak were some of the most ridiculous things I have ever seen in my professional career. Here is something either A) difficult to produce or B) so easy to convert to natural gas they will all go into a gas phase at once with no external energy required beyond warm oil 10,000 below the surface and then they will ignite and destroy the GOM. Wasn't that one of Simmons more looney claims? Methane as toxin was discussed right here at TOD wasn't it? All "eating beans" jokes aside, even the advocates of "death by methane" should have known better.

What's so ridiculous, RGR2?
That methane explodes?
That gas hydrates and gas seeps were found in the area?
That the rig
disaster started with a giant bubble of natural hitting the surface?

The causes of the blowout are not yet certain. Most of the downhole evidence has been destroyed by the blowout or will be dstroyed by the relief wells so the exact causes may never be known. Moreover, a lot of information that might be useful has not yet been released, and some of the testimony and information that has been provided is sketchy, self-serving or contradictory. Accordingly, the story is still evolving and may evolve for years because the extreme stakes in any shifting liability, along with criminal prosecution threats, have understandably put lawyers at the head of the company information flow.

The oil moving up from below the ocean was certainly warm and cementing operations give off heat. could have passed thru a layer of methane hydrates, melting it, forming a bubble which eventually then escaped to the surface.

Maybe natural gas escaped from a botched casing or maybe not.

I remember asking if anyone had actually seen the drilling record which might show whether they had drilled thru methane hydrates.
The only thing we know for sure is that arrogant managers and poor inspections/operations failed to make the safeguards contain the disaster.
You'd think the government would issue a final report. I know BP issued a report pointing fingers at Cameron, Halliburton, etc.

It serves the interest of many to obscure the facts and blame it on 'bad apples'. If it turned out that vast areas of GOM were undrillable on account of methane hydrates that would be very bad news for the industry.

I don't suppose you have a count on how many hydrate "blowouts" have ever caused a rig to burn down, would you? Because you certainly don't get to count the Deepwater Horizon in that number.

There is no technology to recover methane hydrates, and good reasons to think there never will be.

You mean, sublimation through depressurization stopped working when I looked away? How the hell did THAT happen!

About now aren't suppose to tell us how Fusion is "Almost Here" and will supply all the power we will ever need?

Hydrates = Fusion

The Energy source of tomorrow,(and always will be).

Your entire diatribe is hilarious. Thanks for providing the comic relief we need around here.

Hadn't really thought of it as a diatribe, but hey, any time I can cheer up a gang of eternal pessimists, glad to be of service.

When are clathrates coming onstream for public consumption and will I have to pay more or less for these new supplies?

Hydrates have already come onstream and been consumed by the public (in small quantities, considering the production was accidental), but I would guess that the answer to your question requires another one being answered first, to whit, how many decades/centuries of reasonably priced natural gas can we get from all the easier stuff (like shale gas) first? I think that question is also predicated on another, which is what is the true size of the global conventional natural gas endowment? I know of a few people who claim they can predict the price points for all these things, but I remain unconvinced.

You ask a perfectly reasonable question which I'm pretty sure no one can actually answer with any level of certainty. Fortunately, based on the size of all the natural gas resources available excluding hydrates, it isn't really a question which has to be answered soon.

That's what I figured. There's enough NG around, least in the ground if not within the political borders most people would like it, to make the issue somewhat moot, assuming mining these resources would be easy and cheap enough to look into any time soon.

Though my biggest issue would be moving to NG from oil for transportation, and if/when that happens, how that affects NG use in other areas. In the US, not so much an issue (and if the shale plays are ever going to take off big time, then less so than that), in Europe, could cause a problem in places like the UK.

Though yeah, that requires us to first convert over to NG without the economy imploding again, which right now, looks a little more likely than me winning the Euromillions Lotto jackpot.

Hi Gail,

re: Hirsch's comment, as you convey it:

"Robert Hirsch explains that when he says we have a liquids fuels problem, not an energy problem, his point is that all the windmills in the world, or other types of electrical energy, won't run the vehicles currently in operation that are built to operate on petroleum based fuels."

The second half of the sentence - (following "his point is...") - is true and important.

And, I wish he'd say it directly, without first saying "we have a liquids fuels problem, not an energy problem." This phrase is confusing and inaccurate.

A "liquid fuels problem" is *also* an energy problem.

A "liquid fuels problem" is a subset of an "energy problem." If you have an LF problem, by definition, you also have an "energy problem."

Also, the impacts of the "liquid fuels problem" directly translate to less available energy for all uses: "machine nutrition," (my term) and, consequently, leads to "machine malnutrition," "machine starvation"... or...i.e., a shrinking economy.

I think he means to say that the type of energy, its end use, is of critical importance. The way to say that is to say exactly that.

But to say "there's not an energy problem" - (sigh.)

Regarding the "liquid fuel problem" (and putting the emphasis on this, even if kinda true, is really specious considering coal and NG situation in many part of the world), what the US clearly has to do, if it truly cared about it, is to raise its totally ridiculous gas tax level (while still consuming around 20% of world oil production) :

PS : this not in contradiction to your message, fully agree with it (read it too quickly the first time)

And not to forget a tax doesn't change a country GDP

You aren't going to be able to raise the gas tax in the United States until you are able to explain why it's necessary to do so. That's why I keep arguing that it's necessary to get conservatives on board with peak oil. Once you have a majority of the legislature (that means 60% of the senate) and the american public, then we could take a $2.00 a gallon increase in the gas tax and roll it into electric rail and other public transportation issues. I would say half the tax would go federal and the other half would be given directly to the States for transportation projects within the individual State where the tax is collected.

Of course one of the problems the United States has alway had is that we do not have the population densities that Europe, except for the Atlantic North East, Metro Chicago, and the LA to San Diego areas. has so public transportation for most parts of the United States ends up being very expensive to operate compared to costs in Europe (I lived in Europe for 3 years and you folks are packed together like Norwegian sardines). That's why train travel isn't what it is in Europe. That will change with oil prices going up prohibitively.

Hi goodmaj

re: "That's why I keep arguing that it's necessary to get conservatives on board with peak oil."

I like this. Do you have any ideas of how to do it?

As far as I can tell, the "conservatives" consider "peak" to be a leftie thing, (example, anecdotal: Friend: "You can't talk to them about peak, they're Republicans.") (Or, from the land of late-night talk radio: "I believe in abiotic oil. It has to be.")

...and, in a parallel universe, lefties/progressives think it's either a plot by big oil or...wind and solar will fix it, really no problem. (Oh, and it's also the big oil companies that don't want wind/solar.) (Got it?)

That type of thing.

re: "Once you have a majority of the legislature (that means 60% of the senate) and the american public, then we could take a $2.00 a gallon increase in the gas tax and roll it into electric rail and other public transportation issues."

Not to bore the regulars, but, goodmaj, have you seen our effort to simply - (it would be sooooo easy! What's the problem?)- have Congress and/or Pres and/or *any* State legislature to direct the National Academy of Sciences to study oil decline, impacts and policy options.

Your comments, suggestions, critiques and/or assistance, most welcome.

"...late - night talk radio..."

That's not conservative or right wing... that's loon land...

The only thing I can think of to convince the conservatives is to keep the discussion purely geologic, economic and factual. The minute you start throwing in hype you are going to turn the off switch. I've lived long enough to see so much hype come and go myself that I'm surprised that I'm buying into PO, but it is a very convincing argument.

In one of the discussions someone mentioned cedar roofing as durable, well I lived through peak cedar roofing. My family made a lot of money going out into the forest and 'harvesting' seasoned cedar to make shingles and shakes. In the 1970s everybody had to have cedar shake roofs in the NorthWest. Well pretty soon we went from having 2 shake mills in the area to 4. Then cedar logs started not being as close to established roads. You had to work harder to get to them. Then I went into the Air Force, I came home on leave and my Uncle who made his living off of 'cedar' had resorted to flying cedar out of remote areas with a helicopter! EXPENSIVE! Now, all 4 cedar shake mills are long closed and what you get for cedar shakes are made out of very inferior 'green' wood made at a few regional mills. Everyone back then thought there was no end to the cedar left to rot by the early loggers of the 1900s, but it only took about 25 years to clear the whole area out.

Given that story, it was easy for me to see that Peak Oil can be and is probably quite real. There is an end of finite resources. Find a story in the real world and use it to show them how it can happen and relate it to oil. Pretend they are from Missouri, because conservatives are very much 'show me' people.

You don't have to win over the whole bunch of them. I know it won't be easy, we conservatives can be a hard headed bunch as you point out. but they're are a lot of us out there. But, as you've read just on the comment from this one article there are some here so we can be convinced.

There will be a good number of them that are recalcitrants. As I pointed out, You only have to win enough to get bills passed in congress -- to soften the blow that's coming. You won't get it for free either. You will get 'Drill baby Drill' and Nuclear along with a compromise package that includes a healthy conservation and renewables program. That's what you got with Bush, only this time you can do better on the renewables side this time since it's your man in the White House. To hope for just the latter (only renewables) in a package is like a child holding his breath trying to get his way. It isn't going to happen. It's all about compromise.

The BEST thing that can come from winning a sizable chunk of conservatives over though is public awareness. During World War II you had one of the most successful conservation programs ever. Many of the things being conserved were just a PR gimmic. But, Roosevelt and company understood that people wanted to be involved for the greater good to combat the so called evils attacking their world.

What do you think they would be willing to do once they figure out there is something out there that can take their world out by the knees. If they can do anything to salvage something of it, I bet they will be willing to do anything and everything they can to make that happen. All Obama did was say the word 'hope' and got elected by a comfortable margin. Offer real hope and see what happens. But the first thing that has to happen is to wake them up to realize the house is on fire.

I'm surprised that I'm buying into PO

That just goes toward proving the lunacy of the whole human race (all of us --me included).

Imagine saying:

1. I'm surprised that I'm buying into the "gravity" theory by that crazy Newton fellow.

2. I'm surprised that I'm buying into the "evolution" theory by that crazy Darwin fellow.

3. I'm surprised that I'm buying into the "uncertainty" theory by that crazy Heisenberg fellow.

because ....

I'm A Serious Man

I'm a Conservative Man

However, on the blackboard behind Professor Goplnicht, the evaluation of (p)^2 minus (p)^2, shouldn't that be zero? It's good once in a while to also be a Skeptical Man

However, on the blackboard behind Professor Goplnicht, the evaluation of (p)^2 minus (p)^2, shouldn't that be zero? It's good once in a while to also be a Skeptical Man

That's the definition of variance, look at the brackets closely.


My bad.


Hi goodmaj

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. And firsthand story of "peak local wood of a certain variety."

I agree with your ideas of sharing. I feel I've done this as much as I can. I don't agree that people necessarily (or, even most often) take up the message, no matter how it's given. They just don't.

Did you sign our petition, BTW?

So, I guess: next step is: I'd like to ask or encourage you to perhaps write up your story, and, as a "conservative spokesperson" - get the message out to the folks you think can and want to hear it, in the way you say they will.

If you want to write up an article, I'd be happy to offer to edit it or otherwise assist in some way.

In other words: "Public awareness" - great. How?

re: "loon land."

Actually, given my sampling - I'd say late night talk radio is what I think fits "right wing" description - underneath the "loon" part.

re: "What do you think they would be willing to do once they figure out there is something out there that can take their world out by the knees. If they can do anything to salvage something of it, I bet they will be willing to do anything and everything they can to make that happen."

Real life anecdotal sample:

Property owners: Not only did not take up my offer of further information about "peak," but went out and bought themselves an extremely large truck, and just as I was wondering what for, followed this with the most gargantuan travel "trailer" (mobile mansion?) I've ever seen.

They plan to travel, you see. That is what retirees are supposed to do, it seems. So, they are doing it.

write up your story ... as a "conservative spokesperson"

Myself; I'm a big fan of George Lakoff and his "framing" theories.

Our brains are incapable of holding two dissonant frames at one time.

For example, you can't be thinking about calculating future net worth and wealth growth based on 5% annually compounded interest in one side of your brain while simultaneously calculating expected GDP plummet due to Petroleum Plummet in the other side of your brain.

The two conflicting models cannot simultaneously co-exist in your head as both being valid in the real world.

If you had a mind-reading machine that could get inside the head of your tea-partying "conservative" species mates (and we liberals are no better than they), you would probably see the compound growth model firmly entrenched in the fore front while the concept of end-of-good-times is tucked away in the chicken-little's looney trash bin in the back of the brain.

Whatever messaging you try to get through into the brain of the "conservative", it will first be filtered by the forefront model and then immediately re-directed for storage in the looney trash bin located in the back of the brain.

That is the way the brains of conservatives are "framed" and wired.
It would take some clever NLP messaging to get past that barrier.
However, we liberals have our brains wired to the idea of making rational, intellectual arguments.
Good luck with that one.

Evenin' Step Back,

In case anyone is still around on this topic.

Goodmaj says he accepts "peak oil." And, that he is a conservative.

To me, he is making an artificial distinction between "us" or, the people he calls "you" - and himself.

We are just different variants of him. There's something (the story he tells) in his experience and make-up that allows him to accept PO.

I was making an attempt to "draw the circle wider" and let Goodmaj in on the reality that if you know, you know. Not that there aren't different forms of "knowing."

re: Lakoff.

I take issue w. his ideas, really. They can be useful. They can also be misleading - well, perhaps "limited" is a better term.

For example, I rather doubt there are "models" per se.

re: "For example, you can't be thinking about calculating future net worth and wealth growth based on 5% annually compounded interest in one side of your brain while simultaneously calculating expected GDP plummet due to Petroleum Plummet in the other side of your brain."

My guess is that someone who is capable of thinking in terms of compound interest actually is equipped to also understand "compound decrease" or whatever the mathematically-correct term is.

Hi Aniya,

I was surprised to find a last left over comment here.

The fashion is to stay with the "in" and up-to-date crowd in the latest drum beat.

I rather doubt there are "models" per se

My intent was not to say that George Lakoff has the latest and greatest take on the still nascent field of neuroscience. His "frames" model does have its weaknesses.

But as to real time models running in a parallel processing way inside people's heads all the time, that should be self evident.

I guess it all depends on what your definition of a model is is. My definition is anything that is less than 100% accurate but nonetheless allows its user to predict unconsciously as well as consciously what will happen in the world outside of one's brain (outside of Plato's shadow-filled cave) and to react appropriately.

In the last minute or so, you blinked.

You blinked because a background modeling process is running in the back of your brain for predicting the rate at which your eyeball is drying out in the hostile air environment we live in. That model is trying to efficiently control the amount of moisture it lets out in response. If we had gushing tears all the time, we would die of dehydration.

In the last minute or so, you also took a breath.

You took a breath because a background modeling process is running in the back of your brain for predicting the rate at which carbon dioxide needs to be efficiently removed from your lungs based on surrounding conditions.

You also swallowed some saliva. Trust me here, people die if the background modeling processes running in the backs of their brains do not correctly time the swallowing operation and the saliva goes down into your lungs rather than down into your gut.

I can go on and on. Just don't get me started.

We are just different variants of him [Goodmaj]. There's something (the story he tells) in his experience and make-up that allows him to accept PO.

Yes and no --on us being different variants of him [Goodmaj].
Pretty much all of us are capable of simultaneously running contradicting models in our heads.

Have you ever had a situation where you "cant' make up your mind" about something?

What the heck does that mean?

Aren't you, I, each just a single mind? Just a singular "you"/"me"?

The answer is no.
And that is true for the PO-believer/"conservative" inside Goodmaj as well.
But that is a story for a much longer day.


No problem, it's most probably way too late anyway, "until you are able to explain why it's necessary to do so" ? No need to explain anything

Oh, and higher gas tax doesn't necessarily means everybody jumping on a tram, decreasing the average US car consumption by 50% is readily available, the point is to accelerate the change in the infrastructure in a broad sense (cars included), to push investments decisions in the right direction (without necessarily defining the direction), although in the US, true that the suburbia set up is a real issue (but Europe often not so different in many places in fact).

No, in a round about way he is saying that if we didn't drive cars, we wouldn't have an energy problem right now. LOL

There is a direct connection between natural gas and alternate oil production. As an example, consider the peaking of natural gas in Western Canada.

The production of natural gas in Canada is currently experiencing a plateau, and it is the opinion of many including the National Energy Board (NEB) that the production of conventional gas has peaked.

For instance, 2004 marked an increase of 15 per cent in drilling over the previous year, but production remained constant (NRC 2006). The increase in wells drilled while production levels plateau is a general characteristic of fields that are peaking (Campbell 1998).

Analyst Dave Russum from Geo-Help Inc. supports this notion stating “Canada’s daily average natural gas production peaked in 2001 at 17.4 Billion cubic feet per day of marketable gas and the likelihood of this level being achieved again on a sustainable basis would require an extraordinary effort that is unparalleled in the history of this industry in Canada.”

Peaking conventional natural gas production supply will constrain future tar sands production.

There are emerging alternatives to conventional natural gas when producing bitumen

Alternatives for the use of natural gas are generally a combination of three approaches.

Decrease or eliminate the need for natural gas in energy production, reduce its need in extraction operations, or find more gas to fill the supply gap.

Strategies for eliminating the need natural gas in energy production include installing nuclear power plants, using coal or using bitumen the source of fuel. Reduced need plans include injecting air and fire underground, new forms of steam assisted gravity drainage, or the injection of solvents underground. Finally, in the near future more gas could be extracted from coal beds or imported, whereas in the future a major and important potential lies for using gas hydrates as a source of natural gas.

The supply of natural gas will be a limiting factor in the short-term development of the Albertan tar sands. Local gas from Alberta appears to be at peak production. However, as alternative technologies evolve to replace conventional gas supply and desire for this liquid energy source increase, the need for natural gas must and will decrease.

Other existing and emerging technologies will fill in the gap left by unavailable or economically unviable sources of natural gas. Even if the promising technologies do not fulfill their potential, shipping of Liquefied natural gas (LNG) from other countries must by necessity fill in the missing gap once this LNG import infrastructure is in place.

Natural gas supply is not a serious constraint on oil sands production in Alberta. Alberta has lots of NG to supply fuel for the oil sands; it just does not have enough to do that and simultaneously export NG to the US. The solution is quite simple: They are just going to cut off exports to the US - at least that's what provincial government planning documents indicate. At current depressed NG prices it takes about $1 worth of NG to produce $10 to $20 worth of bitumen for export, so it is a no-brainer. NG will go to the oil sands plants rather than the US.

Some people will argue that NAFTA prohibits that, but they don't understand NAFTA or the Canadian Constitution. In Canada, the provinces have total control over natural resources, and the federal government only becomes involved when they are exported. The provinces didn't sign NAFTA and can cut off NG exports at the wellhead by denying companies permission to produce gas for export. The federal government, which did sign NAFTA, can only invoke emergency legislation if there is a shortage in Canada and the provinces are very adept at supply management to prevent the Constitution's emergency clauses being triggered. However, I doubt the US government cares anyway because the US has a large surplus of shale gas at the moment.

Canada also has large amounts of shale gas of its own, probably more than the US, but it likely won't see large scale exports until the US shale gas has been produced and prices go back up. The shale gas in Northern BC will probably go to the oil sands plants in Northern Alberta.

Now, of course there are other alternatives: Other than the shale gas in Northern BC, Northern Alberta has huge undeveloped coal reserves, Northern Saskatchewan has some of the world's biggest uranium deposits, and there are some big undeveloped hydroelectric sites up there. But I don't expect to see any of it used for oil sands production until the large surplus of cheap NG is off the market and NG prices go up.

A bigger constraint is actually condensate to dilute the bitumen to allow it to flow through pipelines. Condensate is in short supply as a result of the decline in NG production. There are solutions for that, too. Alberta is now importing NG liquids from the US, there is a big pipeline planned to bring in condensate from a tanker terminal on the West Coast, companies use syncrude instead of condensate to dilute the bitumen, and some companies are using heated pipelines to move undiluted bitumen.

But the biggest constraint on new oil sands projects is labor shortages. If companies build more than one project at a time, it creates a shortage of skilled trades, and wages skyrocket to the point where they make the projects uneconomic.


Actually if I am not misreading or miscalculating the "rest" in the figure on electricity generation is not 23 days. The figure 23 days must be for hydro. If that is correct it remains 15 days for the rest. This interpretation is also supported by the figure that follows: "Electricity generation - Rest".


In the third slide labeled "A projection of where future suppy may come from"

Shouldn't the powder blue section be more accurately labeled "When you wish upon a star fields" instead of "Fields yet to be developed" ?

Thank you, and now I can sign off, having had my first (and only) "peak oil" smile of the day.

Powder blue with twinkling little stars, each one a link to an action plan:
sustainable ag policies (, global education of women (, electrification of US rail (Alan, where arrrre you?), peace brigades international(

Good evening, dear TODers.